The 33-year-old backstop isn't calling it quits, however. He's decided to finish his career in his home land.
"After lots of very deep thought and deliberation, I have decided to return home to resume my career in Japan," Johjima said Monday. "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."Recently, rookie Rob Johnson was more or less stealing all of Johjima's playing time anyhow, during the semi-rare occasions when the veteran was healthy enough to play.
He signed with the Mariners in 2005 after playing 11 seasons in Japan's Pacific League with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Johjima batted .268 in his four seasons with Seattle, knocking out 84 doubles, 48 homers and 198 RBIs over 462 games. Impressively, he also holds the AL record for hits by a rookie catcher with 147 in 2006, and the 18 longballs he nailed in his first season tied the club record for most by a catcher.
Good luck, Kenji!
[MLB] | [Mariners Insider] | [Jorge Says No!]