CINCINNATI – Hisashi Iwakuma played in three all-star games in Japan, starting one of them. The extent of his experience with MLB’s Midsummer Classic, he said, is limited to watching the highlights on TV.
But Iwakuma said that when Mariners manager Eric Wedge gathered the team before Saturday’s game to inform them that Iwakuma and teammate Felix Hernandez had made the American League All-Star team, it was one of the biggest thrills of his career.
“You can see my smile,’’ he said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “I was very, very happy. I was very nervous at the same time.”
Hernandez, meanwhile, made the A.L. squad for the fourth time.
Both pitchers were among the five starters selected in balloting by the players, with Hernandez receiving the second-most votes (253) behind Detroit’s Max Scherzer (351).
They were followed by Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox (234), Yu Darvish of the Rangers (222) and Iwakuma (147).
Liddi traded to Orioles
The Mariners announced before the game that infielder Alex Liddi, designated for assignment on June 28 when Brad Miller joined the team, had been traded to the Baltimore Orioles.
In a unique transaction, the Mariners also sent their No. 3 international signing slot to the Orioles in exchange for the second slot.
For the first time, teams have a limit to the amount of money they can spent on international free agents. This trade allows the Mariners to add $73,700 to their international budget.