Sports Outside the Beltway

MLB Catcher Kenji Johjima leaves Seattle for Japan

His contract had two more years to run. From AP-

The Mariners’ experiment of having the first Japanese catcher in the major leagues has ended two years early.

Kenji Johjima opted out of the final two seasons and $15.8 million of his contract, allowing him to sign with a Japanese team.

Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said Monday the decision came somewhat unexpectedly over the weekend, and that it was solely Johjima’s. Zduriencik said the Mariners did not pay any money to buy out their former starting catcher, who said last season he was struggling to accept Seattle benching him in favor of rookie Rob Johnson.

Johjima’s contract gave him the right to end it by Nov. 15 for the purpose of finishing his career in Japan. He gave up salaries of $7.7 million next year and $8.1 million in 2011.

“After lots of very deep thought and deliberation, I have decided to return home to resume my career in Japan,” Johjima said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful experience competing at the major league level. The last four years have been extraordinary, with great teammates and great coaches. I will always be indebted to the Mariners organization for giving me the opportunity to follow my dream.

“This was a very difficult decision, both professionally and personally. I feel now is the time to go home, while I still can perform at a very high level.”

Maybe Johjima misses Japan and is homesick. I haven’t read any reports of his being unhappy with his playing status.

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.