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NPB announces monthly MVP winners

Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers left-hander Minoru Iwata and Chunichi Dragons veteran outfielder Kazuhiro Wada won the July MVP awards for pitchers and position players, alike, in the Central League on Friday.

At 42 years, 1 month, Wada became the oldest to claim the award in either league, surpassing Hiromitsu Kadota who was selected at 41 years, 3 months, with the Orix Braves in May 1989.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks right-hander Ryota Igarashi and Hawks outfielder Seiichi Uchikawa took the monthly accolades on the same team in the Pacific League.

“The career of players is getting much longer, so I think there’ll be a player in the future who can break the record,” said Wada, who is sidelined after suffering a fractured right hand in a game on Wednesday.

“All the pieces have fallen into place in terms of my batting form and everything I’ve been working on. But right now, there’s nothing I can do (about my broken hand). I just have to find the quickest way to get back.”

It was the seventh time in Softbank history that a pitcher and position player won the monthly MVP together, the previous time being when Toshiya Sugiuchi and Munenori Kawasaki claimed it as a duo for the monthly period of March-April 2010.

Iwata, who claimed his first MVP honor, went 4-1 in five starts with a league-best 1.25 ERA. Wada topped the league with a .397 batting average and won the award for the third time, including once when he played for the Seibu Lions.

Igarashi posted one save in 13 games and rewrote the Japanese baseball record with 12 holds in a one month. It was his second award after winning it in July 2004 with the Yakult Swallows. Igarashi is the 19th player overall to capture the monthly MVP in both leagues.

Uchikawa batted .330 with a league-high 20 RBIs, taking the honor for the fourth time, including once with the Yokohama BayStars.