Baseball-Ohtani breaks record for most HRs by a Japanese player

By Thomson Reuters Apr 21, 2024 | 5:08 PM

By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Shohei Ohtani surpassed Hideki Matsui to become the Japanese-born player who has hit the most home runs in Major League Baseball history after the Dodgers slugger launched to right field in the third inning on Sunday.

Ohtani stood and watched as his 176th home run went deep into the stands and smiled as he crossed home plate to break the tie with Matsui and open the scoring against the visiting New York Mets at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Known as a “modern day Babe Ruth” because of his dominance as both a power hitter and pitcher, Ohtani’s record-breaking homer left his bat at 110 miles per hour and traveled 423 feet.

Ohtani has a .368 batting average with five home runs and 13 RBIs since joining the Dodgers in the offseason on a record 10-year, $700 million contract.

He will not pitch this season as he recovers from offseason elbow surgery but the 29-year-old is expected to return to the mound next year.

Despite his success on the field so far this season, his tenure with the Dodgers got off to a bumpy start when his former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara was accused of stealing $16 million from Ohtani to cover illegal gambling debts.

Prosecutors exonerated Ohtani in the case and Mizuhara apologized to Ohtani, the Dodgers, MLB and his family through a lawyer after appearing in court on a bank fraud charge earlier this month, where he was released on bond.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis)