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Darvish leads All-Star voting

Kyodo

Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish and his three teammates were leading their respective positions Friday at the halfway point of fan voting for the three-game Japanese All-Star series in late July.

Darvish has received 96,402 votes to lead second-place Masahiro Tanaka of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles by more than 46,000 votes in the category for starting pitcher.

From the Fighters, now second in the Pacific League standings, Hisashi Takeda (closer), Sho Nakata (outfield) and Atsunori Inaba (designated hitter) were also in the lead.

The PL-leading Fukuoka Softbank Hawks had three top vote-getters, including shortstop Munenori Kawasaki.

Rakuten catcher Motohiro Shima has earned the highest number of votes among all players with 166,901.

Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki has received more votes than any other Central League player with 164,046.

The final voting results will be released next Thursday.

The complete list of 31 players for each league, including those to be chosen by managers, will be due out July 4 before each league adds one more player as a special entry.

Game 1 is scheduled for July 22 at Nagoya Dome, followed by Game 2 on the 23rd at QVC Marine Field and Game 3 on the 24th at Kleenex Stadium.