Japanese slugging ace pitcher Shohei Ohtani arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday ahead of his first spring training with the Angels, due to start later this month.

In December, the 23-year-old signed with the Angels after being posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters of Japan's Pacific League. Ohtani has both pitched and played a key role in the Fighters' lineup for five seasons.

This will be Ohtani's third year in a row to train in Arizona, where the Fighters held their spring camp the past two years. Angels pitchers and catchers are due to report on Feb. 14.

Despite being a former MVP in Japanese pro baseball, Ohtani is considered an amateur according to the rules governing international signings as agreed to by Major League Baseball and its union. As an amateur, he is currently on a minor-league contract and needed an invitation to attend major-league camp with the Angels.

More on Ohtani: 

Baseball: Have bat, will travel: Ohtani

Baseball: Angels' Ohtani No. 1 in MLB top prospect poll

Baseball: Ohtani shares New Year's resolutions at public practice

FACTFILE: Everything you need to know about Shohei Ohtani