Johjima signs four-year deal

FUKUOKA, Japan -- Former Seattle Mariners catcher Kenji Johjima has agreed to join the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League.

Johjima held talks with his former team, the Softbank Hawks of the Pacific League, but decided instead to join the Tigers, signing a four-year deal worth $21 million.

"Hanshin was the first team to set up talks with me," Johjima said. "I'll do everything I can do to help the team win."

He opted out of the final two seasons and $15.8 million of his contract with the Mariners last week, allowing him to finish his career in Japan.

The 33-year-old Johjima hit .268 in four seasons with Seattle, with 48 homers and 198 RBIs in 462 games. He holds the American League record for hits by a rookie catcher (147 in 2006). His 18 homers in his first season tied the Mariners' record for most by a catcher.

He slumped to .227 as part of Seattle's 101-loss collapse in 2008 and hit just .247 in 71 games this past season, losing playing time to injuries and the Mariners' preference for rookie catcher Rob Johnson.