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OC Register: Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda ‘looking forward’ to potential matchup against Angels’ Shohei Ohtani


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LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani’s return from the DL to serve as the Angels’ DH sets up a potential matchup against his fellow countryman, right-hander Kenta Maeda who is scheduled to start Friday’s Freeway Series opener at Angel Stadium.

“The Japanese media obviously has been creating hype,” Maeda said through his interpreter. “But I am looking forward to facing another Japanese player.”

Maeda and Ohtani overlapped in the Japanese league for three seasons (2013-15) but Maeda’s Hiroshima Carp were in the Central League and Ohtani’s Nippon Ham Fighters in the Pacific League and the two faced each other only once or twice a year – matchups that Maeda joked he got the better of.

This will be a fresh challenge, Maeda said.

“The image I had about him as a hitter has changed, so my approach to the way I pitch to him will change,” Maeda said. “I’m just going to approach it as if I’m facing a new hitter.”

Teased about the possibility of needing to throw a brushback to Ohtani, Maeda said Japanese fans would probably boo him for that. But it’s not likely to happen.

“I’m a nice guy,” he said with a laugh. “I would never do that.”

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