The Seattle Mariners have signed Kenji Jojima to a three-year contract, making him the first Japanese catcher in Major League Baseball.

The 29-year-old Jojima has played with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in the Pacific League for the last 11 years, and has won Japan's Gold Glove the last seven seasons. His Mariners contract is worth $16.5 million, but he could earn an additional $2.5 million in incentive bonuses.

In Seattle Jojima will be teamed with countryman and Mariners' star outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who is a national hero in Japan.

Jojima has a career batting average of .299 with 211 home runs and 699 runs batted in. The six-time Japanese All-Star was also a member of Japan's bronze medal team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.