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Hisashi Iwakuma will head back to Japan to play baseball

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37-year-old pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma will head back to Japan to continue his baseball career, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. Iwakuma, who missed the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, says he’ll be ready by spring training.

Iwakuma signed a minor league deal with the Mariners last November after undergoing an arthroscopic debridement on his right shoulder last September. He appeared in two minor league rehab games on August 26 and 31, pitching three innings in total.

Iwakuma pitched in Japan from 2001-11 before going overseas to play Major League Baseball. Across parts of six seasons with the Mariners, he won 63 games with a 3.42 ERA and a 714/185 K/BB ratio across 883 2/3 innings. Iwakuma earned approximately $48 million during his time in the U.S. Not bad.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.