Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma had lots of attention in camp today, with a few dozen Japanese journalists following him through his first day as a Seattle Mariner.
And when Iwakuma's first workout ended, he did something that caught everyone by surprise - he waded into a sea of fans and spent more than 20 minutes signing autographs and posing for photos.
“This is the first time for me to see a lot of people here. I try to sign as much as I can,” he said through an interpreter. “It was my first day to wear a major league uniform.
“It was exciting to play with the other pitchers and catchers. It was fun.”
Iwakuma got loose and then took part in fielding drills, but won’t throw his first bullpen session until tomorrow.
“I didn’t throw. I’ll try to throw three times in the bullpen,then we’ll see. We’ll decide with the coaches,” he said.
Loosely penciled in as the Mariners No. 3 starter behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas, Iwakuma and interpreter Daisuke Sekiba talked to his new teammates.
“I want to communicate with everyone, so I was looking around a lot. I tried to see everyone I could,” Iwakuma said. “The workout was easy. Two hours. I felt like a major leaguer,” he said.