Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani announces marriage on social media

Shohei Ohtani’s life away from the baseball diamond has always been intensely private. About all he’s ever revealed is that he owns a dog named Dekopin, Japanese for Decoy.

Until now. Ohtani, 29, posted on Instagram in the middle of the night that he is married. Yes, the two-way superstar has his first ring as a Dodger, and it came as a shock even to the Japanese media horde that covers his every public word, step and swing.

“Not only have I begun a new chapter in my career with the Dodgers but I also have begun a new life with someone from my native country of Japan who is very special to me and I wanted everyone to know I am now married,” he wrote in Japanese.

“I am excited for what is to come and thank you for your support.”

Ohtani did not identify his wife in the post, but said she is a woman from Japan. No details were offered about when or where a wedding ceremony was held. He said he would conduct an interview Friday, although it was unclear whether that meant Friday in Japan, which would be Thursday at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch training facility in Phoenix.

The news broke in the middle of the night in Los Angeles and in Phoenix, where the Dodgers are conducting spring training, but it was late afternoon in Japan, and the story quickly was broadcast on television. Ohtani had never even divulged that he had a girlfriend.

The couple will have a canine companion. Ohtani included a photo of Dekopin, a Dutch Kooikerhondje, on the Instagram marriage announcement and these words: “We hope the two of us — and one animal — will work together.” He first introduced the pooch to the public when discussing winning the American League Most Valuable Player award during a televised interview on MLB Network in November.

Ohtani made his first appearance in a Dodgers uniform Tuesday, hitting a home run in his third at-bat. He signed a 10-year, $700-million contract with the Dodgers this offseason after playing six seasons with the Angels.