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Sugiuchi picks up Sawamura Award

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks pitcher Toshiya Sugiuchi received his first Sawamura Award on Monday after recording 18 wins for the most in both leagues during the regular season.

Japanese baseball officials unanimously selected Sugiuchi as the best starting pitcher in both the Central League and Pacific League, making him the first left-hander from the PL to receive the award.

“To have my name carved in history is a real honor and I really wonder whether it is OK for me to take this award,” said the 24-year-old Sugiuchi.

“I have to justify getting this award by playing well next season,” he added.

Sugiuchi went 18-4 this season with a league high 2.11 ERA in 26 games this season. He also pitched 196 2/3 innings with eight complete games, including two shutouts, 218 strikeouts and a winning percentage of .818.

The annual award is traditionally given to the best starting pitcher in Japanese baseball.

It is named after the late Eiji Sawamura, the legendary Giants pitcher who died in combat while serving in the Japanese military during World War II in 1944.