Mori Celebrates All - Star Selection With Homer

Mori celebrates All-Star selection with homerSaitama Seibu Lions designated hitter Tomoya Mori could hardly have found a more appropriate way to commemorate becoming the youngest player ever to top fan voting for the All-Star series.
Nippon Pro Baseball announced the results of the fan voting on Friday, with 19-year-old Mori earning 536,267 votes — the most of all players in both leagues — for the Pacific League’s DH spot.

In the Lions’ game that night against the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, Mori broke out of a recent slump, belting a two-run homer and doubling twice to power the Lions to a 12-4 victory.

It was Mori’s first homer in 14 games and 13th this season.

“I want to swing away and aim for a home run in the All-Star series,” Mori said on the podium in the post-game interview.

Meanwhile, Nippon Ham’s two-way star Shohei Otani was also chosen by fans, this time as the starting pitcher. In 2013, he was voted onto the PL team as an outfielder.

Otani became the second player in the NPB history to be chosen by fans both as a pitcher and a position player following Junzo Sekine, who was voted as a pitcher in 1953 and as an outfielder in 1963.

Hiroshima Carp hurler Hiroki Kuroda, who returned to Japan after seven years in the major leagues, grabbed the spot as the Central League’s starting pitcher.

Yokohama DeNA BayStars closer Yasuaki Yamasaki was the only rookie chosen by fan voting. Ten players were selected for the first time in their careers, including Yokohama outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. Middle reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi was the only player from the Yomiuri Giants.