Mariners claim OF Cousins from Jays

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SEATTLE — The Mariners added an outfielder on Tuesday, claiming Scott Cousins off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Cousins, who turns 28 in January, was a third-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2006 out of the University of San Francisco. He had spent his entire career in the Marlins’ organization until the Blue Jays claimed him last month. But Toronto designated Cousins for assignment last week.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Cousins, a left-handed hitter and thrower, has played 128 games in the majors for Florida/Miami, with a .188 average. Cousins hit .163 in 53 games with the Marlins last season and .296 in 61 games with New Orleans at Class AAA. He gained a measure of notoriety for colliding with San Francisco catcher Buster Posey at the plate in May 2011, resulting in a serious ankle injury for Posey.

The Mariners’ 40-man roster is at 37. Cousins has one minor-league option left, while outfielders Mike Carp, Trayvon Robinson and Casper Wells are out of options. That means that if any of the latter trio doesn’t make the major-league roster next season, they can be claimed by another team.

Iwakuma glad to be back with Mariners

In his first public comments since signing a two-year, $14-million contract Friday to remain with the Mariners, pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma said his positive experience last year led him to sign back.

“First and foremost, I am very happy with how the Seattle Mariners treated me throughout the season and for their evaluation in me as a starter,” he said through translator Antony Suzuki. “We have great teammates here along with an outstanding coaching staff. My family was a big factor in our decision, but we are very happy and satisfied with Seattle and we look forward to staying for at least two years.”

Iwakuma was 9-5 with a 3.16 earned-run average in 30 appearances, and was 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 16 starts after joining the rotation.

“I am most comfortable as a starter, and I’ve learned a lot from the experience this year,” he said. “That said, this year was a very important year for me knowing what fits best for myself.”

Next year, Iwakuma said, “I do not see myself changing anything dramatically. I would like to prepare for the season earlier than the past and come to spring training ready to go as opposed to getting prepared in spring training.”

He is not concerned about the new dimensions at Safeco Field.

“No, obviously we know that the ball doesn’t travel well in Seattle,” he said. “I just need to continue locating my pitches and keeping the ball down in the zone.”

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