The Nippon Ham Fighters on Friday introduced newly signed utility infielder Gosuke Katoh, who finished the 2022 season with Triple-A Syracuse in the New York Mets organization after making his major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in April.
The Fighters, managed by former major league outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo, picked the 28-year-old Katoh in the third round of Japanese pro baseball's annual entry draft on Oct. 20.
"I still can't believe this," Katoh said at a Tokyo hotel. "It's a dream come true attending a press conference here and speaking alongside manager Shinjo."
Born and raised in the United States, Katoh was the New York Yankees' second-round draft pick in 2013. He played in eight MLB games in 2022, all in April, and picked up his first career hit on April 27 -- a double.
He believes baseball in Japan is a completely different sport.
"I don't know how far my game will play here," Katoh said. "But the mental strength and confidence I gained from my time in the minors should translate in any sport anywhere."
Katoh, who agreed to a first-year contract and signing bonus totaling an estimated 100 million yen ($677,000), plans to join Nippon Ham's autumn minicamp starting Monday in Okinawa.
Shinjo said, "I have to see him play first, but I expect our team to get stronger if he plays second base and bats fifth or sixth in the lineup.