Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto announced today that the club has signed right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league contract with an invitation to Seattle’s Major League Spring Training camp.
Iwakuma, 36, went 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA (15 ER, 31.0 IP) with 16 strikeouts and 12 walks in 6 starts with the Mariners in 2017. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on May 10 (retroactive to May 7) before being transferred to the 60-day DL on July 24. Iwakuma underwent arthroscopic right shoulder debridement surgery on September 27. The surgery was performed by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas, Texas.
In 2016, Iwakuma went 16-12 with a 4.12 ERA (91 ER, 199.0 IP) with 147 strikeouts and 46 walks in 33 starts with the Mariners. His 16 wins were a career-high, and he led the club in wins (16), starts (33), innings (199.0) and strikeouts (147).
Among American League leaders since 2012, Iwakuma ranks 5th in walks-per-9.0-innings-pitched (1.88/185 BB, 883.2 IP), 6th in winning percentage (.618), 8th in ERA (3.42) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.86/ 714 K, 185 BB) and 9th in wins (63).
The native of Tokyo, Japan, has spent his entire 6-year Major League career with the Mariners, compiling a career record of 63-39 with 2 saves and a 3.42 ERA (336 ER, 883.2 IP) with 714 strikeouts and 185 walks in 150 career appearances, including 136 starts. On August 12, 2015 vs. Baltimore, Iwakuma tossed the 5th no-hitter in club history (4th individual no-hitter). Among Mariners all-time club leaders, he ranks 7th in wins, 8th in strikeouts and quality starts (82) and 12th in starts and innings pitched. He originally signed with Seattle as a free agent on Jan. 5, 2012 after spending 11 seasons in the Japan Pacific League.
Iwakuma went 107-69 with a 3.25 ERA (557 ER, 1541.0 IP) with 1175 strikeouts and 342 walks in 226 games (225 starts) during his career in the Japan Pacific League. In 2008, he was named Pacific League MVP and earned the Eiji Sawamura Award (Cy Young Award equivalent) after going 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA (42 ER, 201.2 IP) in 28 starts. He earned a bronze medal with the Japanese National Team at the 2004 Athens Olympics, as well as a gold medal with Team Japan at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
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