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Former Wichita State pitcher earns Japan’s top professional honor

Wichita State’s Kris Johnson went 7-0 with a 2.01 ERA as a freshman in 2004.
Wichita State’s Kris Johnson went 7-0 with a 2.01 ERA as a freshman in 2004. The Wichita Eagle

Former Wichita State pitcher Kris Johnson won the 2016 Sawamura Award on Monday, an honor given to the top starting pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball.

He is the second foreign pitcher to win the award, joining Gene Bacque in 1964.

Johnson went 15-7 with a 2.31 ERA for the Hiroshima Carp this season.

Johnson, from Blue Springs, Mo., pitched from 2004-06 at WSU. He went 16-2 with a 2.94 ERA in his career, including 7-0 with 2.01 ERA as a freshman.

The Red Sox drafted him with the 40th pick in 2006. He appeared in seven major leagues with Pittsburgh and Minnesota, most recently in 2014.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

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