Darvish 2nd, Iwakuma 3rd, Uehara 7th for Cy Young

Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Koji Uehara teamed up for an

exceptionally strong showing by Japanese pitchers in the American

League Cy Young Award voting.

Darvish of the Texas Rangers was second and Iwakuma of the

Seattle Mariners came in third Wednesday, marking the highest

finishes for Japanese pitchers in any Cy Young competition. Uehara

of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox was seventh.

Detroit ace Max Scherzer won the award.

”It was an honor to be a finalist for the American League Cy

Young Award,” Darvish said in a statement. ”Both Max Scherzer and

Hisashi Iwakuma had tremendous seasons. Max is a very deserving


”I would like to thank my teammates, the entire Texas Rangers

organization, and most of all, the fans, for their ongoing support.

I look forward to the 2014 season and helping my team to achieve

our goal: to bring a World Series championship to Texas,” he


Darvish led the majors with 277 strikeouts. He went 13-9 with a

2.83 ERA.

Until this year, the top Cy Young finishes for Japanese pitchers

had been fourth place, by Hideo Nomo in the NL in 1995 and 1996,

and by Daisuke Matsuzaka in the AL in 2008.

Takashi Saito, eighth in the 2006 NL balloting, and Darvish, who

finished ninth last year, were the only other Japanese pitchers to

receive Cy Young votes until this season.

Iwakuma was 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA and 185 strikeouts for the


”It is such an honor to be one of the finalists for the best

award as a pitcher. I had never thought I would become a finalist

here in the U.S., so this is very special to me and is a big

surprise,” Iwakuma recently said in a statement.

Iwakuma said he’s gradually started to prepare himself for the

2014 season. Next week, he plans to take part in a baseball clinic

in Sendai and the region of Japan that was devastated in 2011 by a

tsunami and earthquake.

”During this time of the year, I like to take my time to give

back to the city I played for that supported me for many years and

give spirit to the people and kids that dream about baseball,” he


Uehara was the MVP of the AL championship series against

Detroit. He closed out the clinching Game 6 of the World Series

against St. Louis.

Uehara became Boston’s closer only after injuries to other

candidates. He went 4-1 with 21 saves and a 1.09 ERA in the regular

season and was 1-1 with seven saves and a 0.66 ERA in the


The right-hander is among a few Japanese players to win major

postseason awards in the U.S. major leagues. Hideki Matsui was the

MVP of the 2009 World Series for the New York Yankees and Ichiro

Suzuki was the 2001 AL MVP for the Mariners.

This week’s voting came as many major league teams in the United

States prepare to make bids for Masahiro Tanaka, who went 24-0 for

the Rakuten Eagles in the regular season and then closed out the

clinching Game 7 of the Japan Series last weekend.