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MLB: Hisashi Iwakuma joins Mariners as special assignment coach

In this Oct. 23, 2020 photo, Yomiuri Giants pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma announces his decision to retire at the end of the season at a press conference in Tokyo. (Mainichi)

SEATTLE (Kyodo) -- The Seattle Mariners announced Tuesday their former pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma has rejoined the organization as a special assignment coach reporting directly to general manager Jerry Dipoto.

    He will begin his new role, which will include scouting talent from Japan, during spring training, which is expected to open in mid-February.

    "Kuma has demonstrated throughout his career skills that we think will make him a perfect fit working with our coaches and players," Dipoto said in a press release.

    "He was always prepared, has a terrific work ethic, and the ability to communicate the things that made him a successful pitcher. We're looking forward to adding him to our mix at both the major and minor league level."

    The 39-year-old Japanese spent six seasons with the Mariners from 2012 to 2017 compiling an impressive 63-39 record with a 3.42 ERA in 150 games.

    In 2015 he became the second Japanese-born pitcher after Hideo Nomo to throw a major league no-hitter.

    Iwakuma returned to Nippon Professional Baseball in 2019 but never fully recovered from shoulder surgery he underwent in 2017 and retired after two seasons with the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Giants. He never pitched for the Giants' top team.

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