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Johjima to return to Japan

Discussion in the Nichi-Bei forum
Johjima to return to Japan
According to the Seattle Mariners website, catcher Kenji Johjima has opted out of his contract and will return to Japan, presumably to continue his career in NPB.

I'm rather saddened by this. Kenji did a good job for the Mariners, providing them with much-needed offense, and he was an exceptional team player. It seemed like he never quite got his due defensively, and rookie manager Don Wakamatsu used Rob Johnson at the position more than Johjima this past season. Now the M's will be hard-pressed at the catcher position as Johnson is having off-season back surgery.

I hope Joh-san lands with a good team back home (Tigers?) and hope to see his sunny smile behind the backstop again soon.
Re: Johjima to return to Japan
[ Author: Christopher | Posted: Oct 20, 2009 9:58 AM | HAN Fan ]

Well Tigers do need a replacement for Yano, but would Johjima be satisfied to play second fiddle? Kanoh had a very good year and Tigers should really stick with him.
Re: Johjima to return to Japan
[ Author: IsaacWA | Posted: Oct 21, 2009 12:29 AM | CHU Fan ]

I'm sad too, but the Mariners and Johjima both did the right thing. It looks like many of the M's pitchers never felt comfortable throwing to Joh, and I don't think anyone could have tried any more than Joh did, but it just didn't work. Plus with the big contract extension, plus his offensive production regressing to that of a normal catcher, there was just no place for him.

I wish Kenji the best in the NPB, I really wish things would have turned out differently for him here.

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