Darvish, former big leaguer Ramirez win MVP honors in Japan

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darvish.jpg23-year-old Nippon Ham Fighters ace Yu Darvish and Venezuelan outfielder Alex Ramirez took home the Japanese league MVP awards on Wednesday.
Darvish, who probably qualifies as one of the world’s top 10 pitchers, earned the Pacific League honor despite making just 23 starts this season. He went 15-5 with a 1.73 ERA and a 167/45 K/BB ratio in 182 innings. As spectacular as he was, his performance can’t be regarded as much more valuable than that Hideaki Wakui, who went 16-6 with a 2.30 ERA and 199 strikeouts in 211 2/3 innings for Seibu.
Also making a case for the award was Seibu third baseman Takeya Nakamura, who hit 48 homers to lead the league by nine. He hit .285/.359/.651 overall. Outfielder Teppei Tsuchiya was the league’s leading hitter, coming in at .327/.391/.504 with 13 steals.
Ramirez won a second straight Central League MVP despite finishing with slightly weaker numbers than teammate Michihiro Ogasawara. Ramirez came in at .322/.347/.544 with 31 homers and 103 RBI, while Osagawara hit .309/.384/.543 with 31 homers and 107 RBI.
Ramirez played in the majors for the Indians and Pirates in from 1998-2000, hitting .259/.293/.437 with 12 homers in 332 at-bats. The outfielder is up to 287 homers in nine seasons in Japan.
The Central League’s top pitcher was 24-year-old Wei-Ying Chen. In his first full year in the rotation, he went 8-4 with a 1.54 ERA and four shutouts in 24 starts. Former major leaguer Dicky Gonzalez finished third in the league with a 2.11 ERA.

Chris Archer exits Monday’s start after four innings due to leg discomfort

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Pirates starter Chris Archer pitched only four innings on Monday against the Braves due to leg discomfort, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Archer’s removal from the game was precautionary. He yielded one run on five hits and a walk with three strikeouts on 76 pitches.

Archer, 29, hasn’t pitched deep in any of his four starts since being traded from the Rays to the Pirates. He went 4 1/3 innings in his Buccos debut, then pitched five innings in his next two starts prior to tonight.

The Pirates gave up Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz to acquire Archer from the Rays on July 31. In his four starts as a Pirate, the right-hander has a 4.91 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings.

An update on Archer’s status should be passed along after Monday’s game or on Tuesday.