Munenori Kawasaki eyes spring training

Updated: January 5, 2012, 9:20 AM ET
Associated Press

KOBE, Japan -- Japanese infielder Munenori Kawasaki says he's been invited to spring training by the Seattle Mariners.

"I'll be going to Arizona in February to compete for a job," he said Thursday.

Kawasaki batted .267 with 161 hits in 144 games last season to help lead the Softbank Hawks to their first Japan Series championship in eight years.

Kawasaki, a 30-year-old free agent, previously said he would go to the major leagues, provided he could join Ichiro Suzuki in Seattle.

Suzuki and Kawasaki worked out together in Kobe on Thursday. The Mariners and Oakland Athletics will open the 2012 season in Japan with a two-game series at Tokyo Dome on March 28 and 29.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press