Hanshin Tigers players were named to nine of 11 spots in the Central League as game organizers announced the final results of fan votes Thursday for the upcoming two-day All-Star series in Osaka Dome and Chiba Marine Stadium.
In the Pacific League, Daisuke Matsuzaka heads a quartet of Seibu Lions players and Kenji Jojima was among the three Daiei Hawks players selected by fans for the July 15-16 night games. Managers from both sides will pick the remaining members by Friday.
Hanshin second baseman Makoto Imaoka, who earlier surpassed Ichiro Suzuki’s 1999 mark and became the player with the most votes in Japanese All-Star history, led the Central and Pacific leagues with more than 1.58 million ballots in total.
Hanshin teammates Kei Igawa (starter), Akihiro Yano (catcher), Shinjiro Hiyama (first baseman), George Arias (third baseman), Atsushi Fujimoto (shortstop), and outfielders Tomoaki Kanemoto, Osamu Hamanaka and Norihiro Akahoshi also led their respective positions.
Chunichi reliever Hitoki Iwase and Yakult Swallows closer Shingo Takatsu denied Hanshin a clean sweep in the CL while Igawa was moved atop the list when first choice Kenjiro Kawasaki of Chunichi refused to take part in the series, citing injury and Internet skewing.
Nori, Hamanaka out
OSAKA (Kyodo) Kintetsu Buffaloes infielder Norihiro Nakamura, who has been suffering from a pain in his right knee since he injured the kneecap in May, will not participate in the upcoming All-Star series, Kintetsu manager Masataka Nashida said Thursday.
Nakamura, who has taken part in the summer classic for the past four years, was runnerup behind Nippon Ham’s Michihiro Ogasawara with 988,656 ballots.
Meanwhile, Hanshin Tigers officials announced outfielder Osamu Hamanaka, who will undergo an operation on Friday for a dislocated right shoulder he suffered in a June game, will not take part in the upcoming All-Star series.
Hamanaka finished third in the fan poll behind teammates Tomoaki Kanemoto and Norihiro Akahoshi with 1,417,020 votes.
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