Japanese right-hander Shintaro Fujinami is scheduled to make his first start for the Oakland Athletics at home on April 1 against a Los Angeles Angels lineup likely to feature World Baseball Classic MVP Shohei Ohtani, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay confirmed Saturday.
The former Hanshin Tigers hurler will initially start once per week, mirroring the typical starting pitcher schedule in Japan, as he acclimates to America's majors, Kotsay told reporters at the Athletics' spring training base in Arizona.
MLB teams generally rotate between five starting pitchers, whereas Japan's majors commonly use six-man rotations in a schedule where Monday is typically an off day.
"There's a lot of change going on for him," Kotsay said. "We're keeping this consistent routine for him now."
Fujinami worked six hitless innings Saturday with three strikeouts in his final preseason Cactus League outing, but he also surrendered two runs after walking four and hitting one.
"I want to try my hardest to keep the opposition in check," the 28-year-old said.
Fujinami, whose fastball has been clocked at 162 kilometers (100.6 miles) per hour, was considered Ohtani's pitching rival in high school and has previously expressed excitement about battling his compatriot in MLB.