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Kikuchi, Maru lead Golden Glove winners

by

Staff Writer

Meta

Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi and outfielder Yoshihiro Maru each made it four Golden Gloves in four years as the recipients of Japanese baseball’s top defensive honor, the Mitsui Golden Glove Award, were revealed on Tuesday.

Suzuki, who seems to make a play worthy of the highlight reels at least once per game, and Maru were joined by teammates Yoshiyuki Ishihara, at catcher, and outfielder Seiya Suzuki on the list of Central League winners. Kikuchi and Maru became four-time winners while Ishihara and Suzuki each won for the first time. Ishihara, who turned 37 on Sept. 7, is the oldest catcher to win for the first time in CL history.

The Carp, who won their first league pennant since 1991 this season, led the CL with four Golden Glove winners.

Kikuchi led all second basemen with a .995 fielding percentage. He won by a wide margin with 297 votes, while the Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ Tetsuto Yamada was second with seven and the Yomiuri Giants’ Luis Cruz was third with one. Kikuchi is playing at such a high level that the national team is currently looking for other places in the field to put reigning CL MVP Yamada in order to keep Kikuchi at his natural spot.

Maru is the first Carp outfielder to win four straight Golden Gloves since Koichi Ogata, the team’s current manager, was in the midst of a run of five straight from 1995-1999. He and Suzuki are the first Carp outfielders to win in the same year since Jun Hirose and Masato Akamatsu in 2010.

Giants ace Tomoyuki Sugano and shortstop Hayato Sakamoto each won for the first time, while third baseman Shuichi Murata took home his third Golden Glove.

Jose Lopez, who won for the second time overall, became the first Yokohama BayStars first baseman to win since Norihiro Komada earned the last of his six straight in 1999.

Chunichi Dragons outfielder Yohei Oshima won for the fifth time overall, and for the third straight year.

There were also two four-peat winners from the same team in the Pacific League, as Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda took home the honor for the fifth time overall, and Kenta Imamiya became the first shortstop to win four straight since the Hankyu Braves’ Yutaka Ohashi reigned from 1972-1978. The pair are the first PL teammates to win four straight Golden Gloves at shortstop and third base in the same seasons.

The Japan Series champion Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters led the Pacific League with three selections. Catcher Shota Ono was a first-time winner, while first baseman Sho Nakata won his second and outfielder Daikan Yoh earned his fourth.

Yoh is one of two PL winners expected to be a highly sought-after free agent this offseason. The other is Orix Buffaloes outfielder, and Yoh’s former Fighters teammate, Yoshio Itoi, who won for the seventh time.

The Seibu Lions’ Shogo Akiyama, who won for the second straight year, is the other PL outfielder.

Hideaki Wakui, became the first Chiba Lotte Marines pitcher to win in consecutive seasons. Wakui also Golden Glove awards with Seibu in 2009 and 2010.

The Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles’ Kazuya Fujita was the winner at second base, claiming his third overall.

At least one player from all six PL teams won for the first time since 2011, while the Hanshin Tigers and Tokyo Yakult Swallows were shut out in the CL.