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Thursday, November 7
Mariners keep one part of bullpen intact

Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Shigetoshi Hasegawa never considered leaving the Seattle Mariners, who agreed Thursday to a one-year contract with the 34-year-old right-hander.

Shigetoshi Hasegawa

Hasegawa went 8-3 with a 3.20 ERA and one save in 53 appearances last season. Seattle paid Hasegawa $1.75 million this year and had $2 million option for 2003 with a $100,000 buyout.

Rather than use the option, however, general manager Pat Gillick renegotiated the deal. Terms weren't disclosed, but both sides came out smiling.

"I don't care about money,'' Hasegawa said. "I just wanted to play with Seattle again.''

Hasegawa went 4-1 with a save and a 1.01 ERA in 27 games before the All-Star break but he slumped around the same time as the Mariners' offense. Seattle won 93 games but went flat in August and September and missed the playoffs.

Hasegawa had an 8.56 ERA in 10 appearances in August, twice allowing four earned runs. He came back to hold opponents scoreless in six of his nine September appearances.

"Nobody can be perfect for a whole season,'' Hasegawa said. "I was OK at the beginning and at the end, too.''

Hasegawa had no reservations about signing a one-year contract, saying it gives him flexibility for 2004.

"I'm still young,'' he said.

Hasegawa threw 70 1-3 innings last season, allowing 60 hits, 26 runs and 25 earned runs while striking out 39 batters and walking 30. He gave up career-low four home runs.

"Hasegawa's versatility in the bullpen was an important part of our success last season,'' Gillick said in a news release. "We are glad that we could get a deal worked out to bring him back.''

Hasegawa joined the Mariners as a free agent in January after five seasons with the Anaheim Angels. Before that, he played six seasons with the Orix Blue Wave in Japan's Pacific League.

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