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HomeSportMLB: Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga added to NL roster for All-Star Game;...

MLB: Cubs left-hander Shota Imanaga added to NL roster for All-Star Game; becomes 9th Japanese player selected in Rookie season


AP Photo/Erin Hooley
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Shota Imanaga throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Chicago.

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs left-handed pitcher Shota Imanaga has been named to the National League roster for the upcoming All-Star Game on Sunday, becoming the ninth Japanese player to make the midsummer classic in his first Major League season.

Imanaga, who joined the Cubs after eight seasons with the Yokohama BayStars, has a 7-2 record in 16 starts with a 3.16 earned run average.

“It’s good news that I can do something for the Cubs fans who have supported me and for the people in Japan who watch my games,” Imanaga said.

When asked if reaching the All-Star Game was a goal he had set for himself, Imanaga replied, “Around May, I was able to pitch to a certain extent in a way that I believed I could and I started thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll get picked.’ Being picked is a huge honor.”

Imanaga will play alongside Los Angeles Dodgers star and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani as a starter in the NL. Imanaga is the only other Japanese player participating in the All-Star Game, which will be played in Arlington, Texas on July 16.

“I never thought I would be reunited with him in that setting,” Imanaga said. “He’s a player who is at the top of the game. It’s a chance to see what he does, and I’d like to ask him the secret of his success.”

As for what he expects if he gets the chance to play on the mound in Arlington, Imanaga said: “I can only do what I can do. I’ll pitch like I’ve always pitched, and I’ll be happy when other people get to know my face and my name.”

Imanaga joked that he fears other players who don’t know him might mistake him for his interpreter Edwin Stanberry.

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