• Kyodo


Yuki Yanagita led all players in the fan balloting for this year’s Central and Pacific league All-Star Games, Nippon Professional Baseball announced Monday.

Yanagita, the center fielder for the two-time defending Japan Series champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, pulled in 521,685 votes to lead all players from both leagues. Tokyo Yakult Swallows second baseman Tetsuto Yamada, who hit his Japan-best 25th home run on Sunday, topped the CL fan ballot with 467,633.

The fan vote is the first part of the selection process. The top choices at each position in the players vote will be added to the roster on Thursday. Unlike the fans, the players don’t vote for relief pitchers.

The managers, Mitsuru Manaka of the CL-champion Swallows and Kimiyasu Kudo of the Hawks, will fill out the remaining roster spots on July 4 for the games on July 15 at Fukuoka’s Yafuoku Dome and on July 16 at Yokohama Stadium.

Kudo’s Hawks, who entered play on Monday with a 7-1/2 game lead over the second-place Chiba Lotte Marines, led all 12 NPB-teams with the most players winning the fan ballot. In addition to Yanagita, the fans selected closer Dennis Sarfate, third baseman Nobuhiro Matsuda, shortstop Kenta Imamiya and designated hitter Yuya Hasegawa. Neither the Marines nor the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles won a single place through the fan vote.

The Hiroshima Carp, who currently lead the CL by eight games over the Yomiuri Giants, had two fan-vote winners, first baseman Takahiro Arai and center fielder Yoshihiro Maru.

One rookie was voted onto the team, Hanshin Tigers outfielder Shun Takayama.

Fan all-star ballot winners:

Central League

Starting pitcher: Tomoyuki Sugano, Yomiuri Giants

Middle reliever: Shinji Tajima, Chunichi Dragons

Closer: Yasuaki Yamasaki, Yokohama BayStars

Catcher: Yuhei Nakamura, Tokyo Yakult Swallows

First Base: Takahiro Arai, Hiroshima Carp

Second Base: Tetsuto Yamada, Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Third Base: Shingo Kawabata, Tokyo Yakult Swallows

Shortstop: Hayato Sakamoto, Yomiuri Giants

Outfielders: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Yokohama BayStars; Yoshihiro Maru, Hiroshima Carp; Shun Takayama, Hanshin Tigers

– ——

Pacific League

Starting pitcher: Shohei Otani, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

Middle reliever: Kazuhisa Makita, Seibu Lions

Closer: Dennis Sarfate, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

Catcher: Ginjiro Sumitani, Seibu Lions

First Base: Sho Nakata, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters

Second Base: Hideto Asamura, Seibu Lions

Third Base: Nobuhiro Matsuda, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

Shortstop: Kenta Imamiya, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

Outfielders: Yuki Yanagita, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks; Shogo Akiyama, Seibu Lions; Yoshio Itoi, Orix Buffaloes

Designated Hitter: Yuya Hasegawa, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks


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