Mariners sign Japanese right-hander Iwakuma

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed Japanese right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma (he-sash-ee e-wah-kuma) as a free agent.


“Iwakuma has been a highly successful pitcher in Japan,” said Zduriencik. “We look forward to his contributions to the Seattle Mariners, as he will be given the opportunity to be part of our starting rotation.”


Iwakuma, 30, compiled a 107-69 record in 226 career games with Kintetsu (2001-04) and Rakuten (2005-2011) in the Japan League. He was named the 2008 Pacific League MVP and winner of the Eiji Sawamura Award (Cy Young equivalent) after going 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA (42 ER, 201.2 IP) in 28 starts.


Last season Iwakuma went 6-7 with a 2.42 ERA (32 ER, 119.0 IP) with 90 strikeouts in 17 starts. He missed part of the season on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.


The right-hander was a two-time selection for the Best Nine Award (2004, 2008) and was a two-time NPB All-Star (2004, 2008). Iwakuma also starred for Japan in the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics (Bronze Medal) and the 2009 World Baseball Classic (Gold Medal).


With this signing, the Mariners 40-man roster is now at 39 players.