Mariners' Iwakuma intends to continue career back in Japan

AP

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SEATTLE (AP) Seattle Mariners right-handed pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma intends to try and continue his professional career next year pitching in Japan.

The 37-year-old Iwakuma has missed the entire 2018 season as he's tried to recover from major shoulder surgery in September 2017. Iwakuma was hoping to contribute to the Mariners rotation later in the season, but had several setbacks along the way and only pitched in rehab outings in the minors.

Seattle manager Scott Servais said Iwakuma would not pitch for the Mariners in the final few weeks of the regular season.

"Looking at the big picture, it's been long process of rehab, and finally in this long tunnel, I'm starting to see light," Iwakuma said through a translator on Tuesday. "And at this point, it's unfortunate that I cannot come back as a Mariner. But Japan is my origin. It's where I started my career and by saying that, I think it's a good place to end my career too. With that said, I wanted to explore how much more I could do back in Japan and see if there any teams are interested in me."

Iwakuma was re-signed by Seattle to a minor league contract in the offseason, keeping him with the only team he played for in his major league career. After a brief stint as a reliever at the start, Iwakuma was a reliable part of Seattle's rotation for the majority of his six seasons. He was an All-Star in 2013 when he went 14-6 with a 2.33 ERA. Iwakuma was third in the Cy Young voting that season.

His career highlight came in 2015 when he threw a no-hitter against Baltimore. Iwakuma had a career mark of 63-39 with a 3.42 ERA in 150 career games.

"I think he saw enough out of his last outing or two that he wants to continue to play, which is a good thing," Servais said.

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