Mariners begin spring with new Japanese import

By Bob Baum

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Feb. 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Seattle Mariners' Munenori Kawasaki, from Japan, runs bases during spring training baseball practice on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in Peoria, Ariz.

Charlie Riedel, Associated Press

PEORIA, Ariz. — Spring training is officially under way with Seattle holding its first workout, and the team's newest import from Japan got plenty of attention.

Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (Hih-SAH-shee EE-wah-KOO-mah) did a small amount of running and a little defensive work, pronouncing Sunday's practice far easier than what he's used to in the early days of training in Japan.

The Mariners and Iwakuma agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract last month, plus a little over $3 million in incentives. He joins a franchise already exceedingly popular in Japan because of the presence of that country's superstar, Ichiro.

Seattle started spring training a week ahead of other teams because it will open its season early, on March 28 in Japan against Oakland.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere