The Mariners have re-signed right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor-league deal, according to a team announcement. Iwakuma received an invite to major-league spring training.
Iwakuma recently told Japanese media that he was weighing a non-roster offer from the Mariners, who have expressed interest in a reunion since the end of the season. The righty made only six starts for Seattle before being shut down due to shoulder trouble in early May, and a variety of setbacks caused him to miss the remainder of the season before undergoing an arthroscopic shoulder debridement in late September.
The 36-year-old Iwakuma will have a chance to prove he’s healthy in spring training for Seattle and could re-join the rotation if his medicals check out. Seattle currently projects to begin the year with Felix Hernandez, James Paxton, Mike Leake, Erasmo Ramirez and Marco Gonzales in its rotation pending any additions for the always busy Jerry Dipoto.
Iwakuma has spent his entire stateside career with the Mariners, pitching to a 3.42 ERA and 3.86 FIP in 150 appearances (136 starts) since signing with the club in 2012. He was slated to join the Dodgers on a three-year, $45 million deal two years ago before issues with his physical scuttled the deal and he re-joined Seattle on a one-year, incentive-laden deal that included vesting options for 2017 and 2018.