Giants’ Utsumi named interleague MVP


Southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi, who helped the Yomiuri Giants end the Pacific League’s seven-year stranglehold on interleague championships, was named the interleague MVP on Thursday.

Utsumi, who went 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five starts against PL opponents, will receive ¥2 million for the award.

Giants teammate Toshiya Sugiuchi and fellow lefty Mitsuo Yoshikawa of the Nippon Ham Fighters each won the Japan Life Insurance award, worth 1 million yen. Sugiuchi threw a no-hitter against Tohoku Rakuten on May 30 and posted a 4-1 interleague record with a 1.76 ERA, while Yoshikawa went 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA.

Carp sign infielder Eldred


The Hiroshima Carp announced the signing of 31-year-old first baseman Brad Eldred on Thursday. Eldred, a right-handed hitter, has played a total of 90 major league games since 2005.

The Carp are fourth in the Central League in home runs with 29, but Nick Stavinoha, who leads the team with nine, is out with a season-ending injury to his left knee that will require surgery. Regular cleanup hitter Kenta Kurihara, too, will likely be out until September after having elbow surgery on May 9.

The Carp are fifth in the Central League with a record of 24-31-6, three games back of fourth-place Hanshin. Eldred, who has 251 career minor league homers, has primarily been used as a designated hitter this season, although he has played first base and in the outfield.

The Detroit Tigers released the right-handed hitter, who had a brief stint with the American League club after a torrid spring for Triple-A Toledo. Eldred, who was 3-for-16 with Detroit with six strikeouts, hit 24 home runs in 63 games this season for Toledo.

Eldred, whose contract is for $230,000 plus incentives, will wear the No. 55 that belonged to former CL batting champ Shigenobu Shima before he was traded to the Seibu Lions in March.