• Kyodo

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Hanshin Tigers right-hander Randy Messenger won his third monthly MVP award and 12th-year Yomiuri Giants infielder Hayato Sakamoto was one of two first-time winners, Nippon Professional Baseball announced Wednesday.

Messenger, the first foreign pitcher in NPB to make four straight opening-day starts, was selected as the Central League MVP for the March-April period after he led the league with four wins along with Sakamoto, who batted a league-high .369 with 38 hits.

In the Pacific League, two Seibu Lions players — pitcher Shinsaburo Tawata and infielder Hotaka Yamakawa were named.

Tawata posted five wins in as many games for his first monthly award in his three-year career, while Yamakawa hit .337 and had a league-leading 11 homers and 33 RBIs.

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