Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Giants pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano and six others named to All-Star teams via player voting


Yomiuri Giants right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano was among seven players added Thursday to the Central and Pacific League All-Star teams through player voting.

Sugano was selected to the All-Star roster for the seventh time after receiving 385 votes from his NPB colleagues. The 28-year-old leads the CL in shutouts (three), innings pitched (97), strikeouts (94) and ERA (2.13).

In the fan vote, Sugano, last year’s winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award, finished runner-up behind the Chunichi Dragons’ Daisuke Matsuzaka. In the players’ vote, Sugano received 320 more votes than the former major leaguer. Sugano has not lost the players’ ballot since 2015, when another former major leaguer, Hiroki Kuroda, finished first.

Suggesting that players, too, are susceptible to votes for nostalgia, Matsuzaka, who is 3-3 with just 37-1/3 innings under his belt this season, finished second, with 65 votes.

Yokohama BayStars first baseman Jose Lopez was one of three others added to the CL roster by finishing first in the players vote after being passed over by the fans. The other two were Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi and Hanshin Tigers outfielder Yoshio Itoi, who was selected for the 10th time.

In the PL, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks catcher Takuya Kai was voted onto the All-Star roster for the first time. The 25-year-old has played in 59 games this season and has 33 hits and 17 RBIs with a .234 batting average. Also added were Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles starting pitcher Takayuki Kishi and Hawks designated hitter Alfredo Despaigne.

Hawks outfielder Yuki Yanagita, who led the fan voting, was No. 1 on the players ballot as well, with 564 votes.

PL manager Kimiyasu Kudo of the Hawks and CL skipper Koichi Ogata of the Carp will name additional players on Monday, while full rosters will be announced July 10 after a final player in each league is selected through internet voting.

Unlike the fans, who vote separately on starting pitchers, middle relievers and closer, the players vote on just one pitcher per league.

The games are scheduled for July 13 at Kyocera Dome in Osaka and July 14 at Fujisakidai Stadium in Kumamoto Prefecture.