Mariners Looking Closely At Hong-Chih Kuo

SUNDAY: Kuo is "close to a decision on a landing place" for the 2012 season, agent Alan Chang told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).  Chang also confirmed that the Mariners are one of the teams that have shown "a lot of interest" in the left-hander (Twitter link).

SATURDAY: The Mariners are "looking closely" at Hong-Chih Kuo, reports Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times (on Twitter). It's unclear if they're close to a deal. Last week we heard that three West Coast teams were eyeing the southpaw, including his former team, the Dodgers.

Kuo, 30, was non-tendered earlier this offseason after allowing 49 baserunners and 29 runs in 27 innings last season. He was arguably the game's best reliever in 2010 though, allowing just 29 hits and eight runs (1.20 ERA) in 60 innings, striking out 73 (11.0 K/9) and walking just 18 (2.7 BB/9). Left-handed batters had no chance against him that season, hitting just .095/.159/.111 with 28 strikeouts in 69 plate appearances. Kuo has had five elbow operations – including two Tommy John surgeries – and battled anxiety problems in 2011.

Seattle has already signed lefty reliever George Sherrill earlier this offseason.

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