Shohei Ohtani's first pro manager, Hideki Kuriyama, on Friday celebrated the two-way superstar's second unanimous MVP award in Major League Baseball and said he expects even more from him.

"To receive that award twice in a unanimous vote is, I think, proof that everyone recognizes what he's done," the former Nippon Ham Fighters skipper said in a statement released by the Pacific League club.

File photo taken in March 2023 shows Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama (front R) and Shohei Ohtani (front L) celebrating after winning the World Baseball Classic at loanDepot park in Miami, Florida. (Kyodo)

"He has achieved a magnificent feat, and it makes me very happy."

Kuriyama managed Ohtani with the Fighters from 2013 to 2018 and oversaw his development as a two-way player despite continuous public criticism from former players. In March, the two were reunited when Kuriyama managed Japan to the World Baseball Classic championship.

"I think he is where he is because when he's pursuing something, he never lets up," Kuriyama said. "I am confident he will continue to evolve and show us even more than he already has."


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