Former Mariners right-hander Hisahi Iwakuma is rejoining the franchise in a new position. The Mariners announced Tuesday that they have hired Iwakuma as a special assignment coach. He’ll report to general manager Jerry Dipoto.
“In his new role, Iwakuma will work with Mariners pitchers and pitching instructors at all levels,” the team explained. “He will periodically visit the team’s minor league affiliates during the season, as well as spending time with the Major League team.” Additionally, Iwakuma will assist Mariners scout Manabu Noto in his homeland of Japan.
Based on his decorated playing career in Japan and in Seattle, the well-respected Iwakuma should have plenty to offer as a coach. Now 39 years old, Iwakuma excelled in Japan for over a decade before joining the Mariners in 2012. The union worked out beautifully for both sides, as Iwakuma wound up pitching his entire major league run with the M’s (through 2017). He recorded a 3.42 ERA in 883 2/3 innings, earned an All-Star nod and threw a no-hitter along the way.
While Iwakuma did continue trying to pitch after 2017, injuries hampered his efforts. He threw just two innings in a return to Japan in 2019 and didn’t take the mound at all last year. Iwakuma then decided to retire.