Cubs Lefthander Shota Imanaga Added to NL Roster for All-Star Game; Becomes 9th Japanese Selected in Rookie Season

AP Photo/Erin Hooley
Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Shota Imanaga throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Chicago.

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs lefthander Shota Imanaga on Sunday was named to the National League roster for the upcoming All-Star Game, making him the ninth Japanese player to make the midsummer classic in his first season in the major leagues.

Imanaga, who joined the Cubs after eight seasons with the Yokohama BayStars, has compiled a 7-2 record in 16 starts with a 3.16 earned run average.

“It’s good news that I can provide for Cubs fans who have supported me and for people in Japan who watch my games,” Imanaga said.

Asked if making the All-Star Game was a goal he had set for himself, Imanaga replied, “Around May, I was able to some extent to pitch in a way that I believed I could and began thinking, ‘Maybe I can get picked.’ To get selected is a great honor.”

Imanaga will join Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, who was a fan selection and will be an NL starter as the designated hitter, as the only other Japanese in the All-Star Game to be played July 16 in Arlington, Texas.

“I never thought I would be reunited with him in that setting,” Imanaga said. “He’s a player who is at the top of the game. It’s a chance to see what he is doing, and I’d like to ask him the secret to his success.”

As for what he expects if he gets the chance to the mound in Arlington, Imanaga said, “I can only do what I can do. I will pitch just like I have been doing, and I’ll be happy if different people come to know my face and name.”

Imanaga joked that one of his fears is that other players not familiar with him might mistake him for his interpreter Edwin Stanberry.