You won’t believe who Shohei Ohtani just married!

GLENDALE, Arizona – Shohei Ohtani surprised the Los Angeles Dodgers—and many around the world—with his marriage announcement Thursday, so manager Dave Roberts said any gift the team gives the two-time Most Valuable would be like most of the money in his contract: deferred.

“I'm very happy for him and his girlfriend,” Roberts said, smiling. “As for the wedding gifts, we were surprised and didn't have much time to think about it. I am sure he is on his way.”

Ohtani, the Japanese two-way star, revealed on Instagram early Thursday morning that he got married. Much of the relationship remains a mystery.

“She is a Japanese woman,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “She I really don't feel comfortable talking about exactly when I got married, but she is a normal Japanese woman.”

Ohtani only gave a few more details about the relationship during a brief interview Thursday, saying he had known his new girlfriend for three or four years.

Ohtani, 29, is Japan's biggest celebrity. There has been curiosity about her personal life, which she has always kept private. Her approach and her image have always been 100% baseball and free of scandals and sensational news.

Read more: Shohei Ohtani is what baseball needs

“I felt like it was a good time because it was before the season,” Ohtani said. “I really didn't want any distractions once the season started. “I would have liked to announce it sooner, but there were some problems with the paperwork that (delayed) the whole process.”

Ohtani moved from the Los Angeles Angels to the Dodgers in December on a record $700 million, 10-year contract that calls for $680 million to be paid between 2034 and 2043.

Ohtani said his marriage didn't affect how he treated free agency.

“She has great knowledge of my profession and is willing to be wherever I wanted to play and ultimately it was my decision,” Ohtani said.

The Instagram post included a photo of her dog “Dekopin,” who Ohtani also calls “Decoy.”

He wrote: “We hope that the two of us, and one animal, will work together.”

The news broke in the middle of the night in North America and in the late afternoon in Japan, where it immediately became the top story.

Japanese television reports on his formation in the United States daily, and due to his unprecedented success in North America, he has become the pride of Japan. The Dodgers have become Japan's de facto team.

Ohtani is training with the Dodgers as they prepare to open a two-game series against the San Diego Padres in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20-21.

Ohtani Junder had surgery on his right elbow last September and will not pitch this season. He will be used as a designated hitter and there is a chance he could play in the field.

In his spring training debut this week, he hit a two-run homer against the Chicago White Sox.

Ohtani has hit 171 home runs, including 44 last season, and has a career .274 batting average along with a 38-19 pitching record in five seasons. He missed the 2019 season due to elbow surgery and has a career ERA of 3.01.

He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2018 and the 2021 and 2023 American League Most Valuable Player in 2021, often compared to Babe Ruth for his ability as a two-way player.

—Wade reported from Tokyo.

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