NEW YORK – Former Fukuoka Softbank Hawks shortstop Munenori Kawasaki has signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners which includes an invitation to major league spring training, the club said Wednesday.
“Being able to add a player with the resume that Kawasaki possesses is very good news for the Mariners,” Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement.
“We are looking forward to having him compete for a major league position in spring training. He is a high-energy player with a record of success in Japan.”
In 11 seasons in Japan, all with the Hawks, the 30-year-old Kawasaki batted .294 and earned Pacific League All-Star honors in eight consecutive seasons (2004-2011). Last year, he appeared in all 144 regular season games, batting .267 with 31 stolen bases and helping lead Softbank to its first Japan Series championship in eight years.