Rangers interested in Japanese righty Otani

Rangers interested in Japanese righty Otani

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are one of the teams interested in pitcher Shohei Otani, an 18-year-old right-hander from Japan who has announced he wants to play professionally in North America.

The Dodgers, Red Sox and Orioles are also reportedly interested in the 6-foot-4 pitcher, whose fastball has been clocked as high as 100 mph.

"I think I will start in the Minor Leagues but I want to challenge in the Majors," Otani told reporters in Japan. "It's been my dream since entering high school."

Otani has decided to skip the Nippon Professional Baseball draft. The Rangers are one of the most aggressive teams in pursuing free-agent amateur talent and they established a major presence in Japan by winning the rights and then signing pitcher Yu Darvish in January.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.