Shohei Ohtani received his American League MVP award Saturday at the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner in New York, where he gave a rare English speech to express his thanks.

The two-way star last attended the dinner in 2019 after winning AL Rookie of the Year for the 2018 season. Ohtani won his first MVP in 2021 but there was no dinner in early 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Thank you for hosting such a great event and always making us feel welcome. To all the writers who voted for me, thank you," said the tuxedo-clad Ohtani, who normally communicates with the U.S. media through his interpreter.

"This MVP award is very prestigious and winning this award means the world to me."

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani delivers a speech at the Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner in New York on Jan. 27, 2024. (Getty/Kyodo)

In 2023, Ohtani led the AL with 44 home runs and a 1.066 on-base plus slugging percentage while posting a 10-5 record with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts as a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels.

The 29-year-old signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December, believed to be the largest deal in professional sports history.

A relaxed Ohtani took a photo with National League MVP and Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. at the dinner, where he thanked his old and new teams.

"To the Angels organization, ownership, front office, and entire staff, thank you for the past six years," he said.

"I always appreciated your support and allowing me the opportunity to play this game I'm so passionate about. To my teammates and coaching staff for helping and encouraging me throughout the year, I felt your support every day.

"To the Dodgers organization for believing in me, I'm looking forward to this next phase in my career."

Ohtani also thanked his family and friends, as well as fans around the world, giving special mention to those in his home country.

"To all the fans around the world that support not only me but Major League Baseball, we thank you and appreciate you," he said.

"To the country of Japan, your endless, passionate support you give me every day helps drive me to play the game the way I do."

The Iwate Prefecture native had elbow surgery in September and is expected to concentrate on being a designated hitter in 2024 before returning to pitch again in 2025.

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