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Shohei Ohtani sets HR record for Japanese-born player

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani did something awesome. 

In the bottom of the fifth inning of Wednesday’s home game against the Boston Red Sox, Ohtani crushed his 32nd home run of the season: 

As Rhett Bollinger of the MLB website noted, Ohtani has set a new record for homers hit in an MLB season by a Japanese-born player. 

ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft added: 

Ohtani passed former New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui in the record books, who reacted to Wednesday’s development via a statement: 

“Thirty-two home runs in a season is just a passing point for a hitter like Shohei. I was once considered a long ball hitter in the Majors, but I believe that he truly is a long ball hitter. Furthermore, he is an amazing pitcher. He exceeds what is considered conventional for a Major League player and there is no one else like him. I hope he continues his success this season as he carries the hopes and dreams of many fans and young children. As a baseball fan myself, I can’t wait to see what he is able to do next.” 

As Bollinger noted, Ohtani hit 32 homers in fewer than 81 full games, which makes comparing him to Matsui or any other Japanese-born star practically unfair. Ohtani will have an opportunity to show off in front of a national television audience when he competes in Monday’s Home Run Derby at Coors Field.

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