Yamaguchi, Ramirez take monthly MVP awards


Yomiuri Giants left-handed pitcher Tetsuya Yamaguchi won the Central League’s MVP award for the month of July on Tuesday, while Yokohama BayStars outfielder Alex Ramirez took the accolade for position players.

Yamaguchi made 13 relief appearances with a 0.82 ERA in July, in which the Giants were 11-0 with two ties. The 28-year-old Kanagawa native is the first player to start his career in the so-called player development system and win the award in either league.

“I have ups and downs, but I always try to readjust, and stay in good form for each game. This has led to solid results,” said Yamaguchi, who had allowed just three runs in 50 games as of Monday this season.

Ramirez had a league-high 29 hits and six home runs. The Venezuelan slugger received the MVP award for the ninth time — the most ever in the CL.

He is the only player to have been named the monthly MVP on three teams, including the Yakult Swallows and Yomiuri.

In the Pacific League, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks lefty Kenji Otonari claimed the monthly MVP for the first time in his sixth year as a pro, going 3-0 with a shutout and two complete games and a 2.03 ERA in July.

“Frankly, I am pleased. This shows that I am fulfilling my role in the starting rotation,” Otonari said.

South Korean slugger Lee Dae Ho, in his first year with the Orix Buffaloes, posted league highs with seven homers and 18 RBIs as he won his second monthly MVP and first since May.