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Baseball: Lions win draft rights for top pitching prospect Sumida

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mainichi-The Seibu Lions won the right to negotiate with top pitching prospect Chihiro Sumida out of Fukuoka Prefecture’s Nishinippon Institute of Technology on Monday at Nippon Professional Baseball’s amateur draft.

The Pacific League’s Lions were among four clubs to nominate the left-hander as their top pick, along with the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp, Yomiuri Giants and Yakult Swallows.

An ecstatic Seibu general manager Hisanobu Watanabe said Sumida can make an “immediate impact” for the club, with Lions skipper Hatsuhiko Tsuji equally enthusiastic about the young southpaw.

“He’s capable of throwing aggressively, but he can vary his pitching according to the situation,” Tsuji said.

Two CL clubs nominated pitcher Kenta Kozono out of Wakayama City Wakayama High School as their top pick, with the DeNA BayStars beating the Hanshin Tigers in the lottery for negotiation rights.

Six clubs from across the two leagues automatically earned rights to their top picks, with no other team nominating the same player.

The PL’s SoftBank Hawks took pitcher Kyuta Kazama from Akita Prefecture’s North Asia University Meio High School, the Nippon Ham Fighters selected pitcher Kota Tatsu of Nara Prefecture’s Tenri High School and the CL’s Chunichi Dragons chose outfielder Kenta Bright out of Jobu University.

The PL’s Rakuten Eagles tapped outfielder Soshi Yoshino from Saitama’s Shohei High School, the Lotte Marines took catcher Ko Matsukawa from Wakayama City Wakayama High and the Orix Buffaloes will negotiate with Ren Mukunoki out of Tohoku Fukushi University.