Baseball / Japanese Baseball

Central League manager names BayStars rookie Katsuki Azuma to All-Star roster

Kyodo

Yokohama BayStars rookie Katsuki Azuma was among 13 players newly named to the Central League roster by manager Koichi Ogata for this month’s All-Star games, Nippon Professional Baseball announced Monday.

Azuma is the only first-year player in either league selected to play in the two-game series, following the completion of fan balloting and player voting. The 22-year-old left-hander is 6-4 with a 2.79 ERA.

“I didn’t think I’d be selected in my debut season. I’m really happy,” said Azuma, the BayStars’ top draft pick in 2017. “I think I’ll get inspiration from other players and I’m eager to learn.”

Hiroshima Carp right-hander Daichi Osera is among five players who will make their All-Star debuts after being added onto the CL roster Monday. Osera leads the league with 10 wins in his fifth year with the team.

Seven hurlers and six position players were selected to the squad by Ogata, who manages reigning CL champion Hiroshima. Tokyo Yakult Swallows outfielder Wladimir Balentien, who leads the league in RBIs, was selected for the sixth time.

In the Pacific League, manager Kimiyasu Kudo of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks added eight pitchers and five position players. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles infielder Toshiaki Imae was chosen for the first time in five years, while Chiba Lotte Marines closer Tatsuya Uchi, a 15th-year pro, will make his first appearance.

The 26 players selected by the skippers join 30 players who earned their spots on the teams through the fan ballot and the player voting. The full roster will be announced July 10 after a final player in each league is selected through internet voting.

The games will be on July 13 at Kyocera Dome Osaka and July 14 game at Lib Work Fujisakidai Stadium in Kumamoto Prefecture.