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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

October 14, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Report: Mariners to meet with 18-year-old Japanese phenom

Yusei Kikuchi is the top high school pitcher in Japan, an 18-year-old left-hander who is mulling over whether to bypass the Japanese draft and sign directly with a major-league team over here.The draft in Japan is scheduled for Oct. 29, and Kikuchi, who has been clocked at 95 mph, is projected as the No. 1 pick.

Now comes word, via the website NPB Tracker, that Kikuchi is going to embark in the upcoming few days on an intensive schedule of meeting with first Japanese and then MLB teams — 19 in all. Nikkan Sports lists the MLB teams with which he’ll meet — apparently in Japan — as the Giants, Mets, Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers, Mariners and Indians. Those meetings are to be held between Oct. 19 and 22. The Mariners’ inclusion is not surprising — the M’s have a strong scouting presence in Japan and obviously are an appealing team to Japanese players.

Here’s more from NPB Tracker, which lists the Rangers as a prime suitor. The Indians confirm their interest here. Here’s a good rundown on just who is Husei Kikuchi.

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