Shohei Ohtani and wife Mamiko Tanaka arrive in South Korea for Dodgers-Padres MLB opener

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Shohei Ohtani and his wife arrived in South Korea on Friday with his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Season openers Next week with the San Diego Padres.

Ohtani, wearing a black practice suit and backwards cap, was the first Dodgers player to arrive at the arrival gate at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. his wife, Mamiko TanakaSeveral steps followed behind him.

As the crowd of fans, many in Dodgers jerseys, chanted his name and cheered, Ohtani waved briefly and Tanaka smiled but said nothing before they boarded the limousine bus. Fans held placards with slogans such as “Kotani (Greatest Ohtani) Go” and “Baseball Genius Ohtani”.

Before leaving for South Korea, Ohtani, a two-way Japanese phenomenon, revealed his wife's identity by posting a photo of him and Tanaka, a former professional basketball player, on his Instagram account. Japanese media had already speculated that Ohtani's wife could be Tanaka.

Tanaka, 27, played for the Fujitsu Red Wave in the Women's Japan Basketball League from 2019-23.

In late February, Ohtani, 29, announced in an Instagram post that he was engaged “An Ordinary Japanese Girl” He has known for three or four years. But he did not say exactly who his wife was.

In Ohtani's Instagram post, he posed with teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto with Tanaka in front of the plane. Dodgers Ohtani-Tanaka posted a photo Jodi on the team's X (formerly Twitter) account next to Mookie Betts and his wife.

The upcoming Dodgers-Padres games will mark Ohtani's debut with the Dodgers. In December, Ohtani, formerly with the Los Angeles Angels, signed a record deal $700 million10-year deal to join the Dodgers.

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Ohtani had surgery on his right elbow last September Will not pitch In this season. He will be used as a designated hitter and has a chance to play the field.

Social media in Japan and South Korea have been abuzz with news about Ohtani and his wife.

“Very impressed with how Ohtani opened up about his new bride, Mamiko Tanaka,” said one X user in Japanese.

“Ohtani's wife is very beautiful. They are both made for each other,” an X user said in Korean. Another Korean news report said, “Their future child will be a super athlete.”

The Padres arrived early Friday. The two-game series at Seoul's Gocheok Sky Dome on March 20-21 will be the first Major League Baseball regular-season games in South Korea.

Meanwhile, airport police said they arrested a South Korean man who allegedly threw an egg near Dodgers manager Dave Roberts at the airport. Police said they were trying to determine a motive for his actions, but his family told investigators the man, in his mid-20s, had a history of mental illness.

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Associated Press writer Jiwon Chang contributed to this report.

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