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Mariners plan to limit Yusei Kikuchi’s workload

Yusei Kikuchi

Seattle Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi smiles and shows off his new jersey following a news conference after his signing with the team, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, in Seattle. Kikuchi is the latest Japanese star to decide on calling Seattle home in the majors. The Mariners hope their new left-handed pitcher can help in their rebuild process. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)


The Seattle Mariners formally introduced their latest signing, starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi today. The former Seibu Lion hurler will be guaranteed $56 million over the next 3-4 years (there’s an option in there).

One takeaway from his introduction today: the team plans to slightly limit his workload in his first year as a major leaguer, as a means of getting him used to the different patterns of pitcher usage in the United States compared to Japan.

Kikuchi will still make around 30 starts or so, but some of them will be shorter, with every fifth outing lasting just a couple of innings. This is hoped to lesson the change from pitching every 6-7 days, as is the case in Japan, to every five days in the United States.

Given the Mariners’ rebuild, this should be of no competitive consequence. And it may just help preserve a promising young pitcher’s arm.

Follow @craigcalcaterra