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Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine was named the recipient of the Matsutaro Shoriki award Wednesday for his contributions to the development of Japanese baseball.

The former New York Mets and Texas Rangers manager guided Lotte to its first Japan Series title in 31 years last week and was unanimously chosen by the selection committee members. He became the first foreigner and first member of Lotte to receive this award.

The four-member selection committee, including former Yomiuri Giants managers Tetsuharu Kawakami and Motoshi Fujita, commended not only Valentine’s leadership but also his passion for fans. He will receive 5 million yen for the award.

In other news, Marines infielder Lee Seung Yeop, whose two-year contract expires this year, said Wednesday he wishes to stay with the Japan Series champion team next season.

“Making a challenge in the major leagues is one of my dreams, but not this offseason. There has been no offer from South Korea. Playing for Lotte is my (first) choice,” Lee said.

Lee did say he prefers playing first base rather than his role this season mostly as the designated hitter.

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