Thursday, February 2, 1995 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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M's Looking At 2Nd Pitcher From Japan

With Mac Suzuki still back in Kobe, Japan, helping his family recover from the earthquake, the Mariners have their eyes on one of his countrymen.

Hideo Nomo came to town for a workout and a checkup yesterday.

Nomo, 26 and regarded as one of Japan's top pitchers before contract troubles with his Kintetsu team this winter, made Seattle the first stop on his tour of North American teams interested in signing him as a free agent.

The pitcher is accompanied by agent Don Nomura, who also represents Suzuki, and a film crew from a Tokyo TV station.

"It's another big story over in Japan," Nomura said.

Nomo, a stocky right-hander, threw for five minutes inside the Kingdome with pitcher Brian Doughty, a Mariner minor-leaguer.

After a meeting with trainer Rick Griffin, who gave Nomo several arm-strengthening exercises, the pitcher visited team physician Larry Pedegana for what Seattle General Manager Woody Woodward called, "an extensive physical."

Pending the outcome of that physical, the Mariners may make an offer to the pitcher. "But we'll wait until we get all the medical information in," Woodward said. "He did not pitch at the end of last season, although I don't know the reason."

Although Nomo reportedly retired from the Japanese major leagues, Nomura claimed he is a free agent here. "It's a long story," he said. "He is not a free agent in Japan. He is here."

Nomo would be signed to a minor-league contract, which would

allow him to work out in Seattle's training camp at Peoria, Ariz., as early as Feb. 20. Because he would be in this country on a work visa, the pitcher would not be allowed on the replacement roster.

Throwing briefly, Nomo displayed a slow, deliberate turn in his windup, somewhat resembling Luis Tiant's famous back-to-the-plate delivery. His throws came in hard.

"He throws a heavy ball," Griffin noted.

Nomura said Seattle is just one of "a lot of clubs interested," including the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays.

The agent said Suzuki may stay in Kobe awhile longer and that contrary to what the pitcher first heard, his father and sister were not injured in the earthquake two weeks ago. Nomura said the sister "got tossed around some and wound up under some furniture."

Nomura said the Suzuki house in the hard-hit Suma section of Kobe was damaged but not as badly as those around it.

"Every building around Mac's house was heavily damaged or destroyed," Nomura said. "A block away, a huge area was flattened by the quake and fires that followed."

Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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