Mariners sign Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee to minor league deal

Last season, Lee hit .282 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in 141 games with Fukuoka in Japan. (Wally Santana/AP)

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners have signed Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee and catcher Steve Lerud to minor league contracts two weeks before the start of spring training.

Seattle announced the roster moves Wednesday. Lee, a first baseman, has spent the past four seasons playing in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes and Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Last season, Lee hit .282 with 31 homers and 98 RBIs in 141 games with Fukuoka.

Prior to playing in Japan, the 33-year-old Lee spent 11 seasons playing in Korea and was a Korean Baseball Organization MVP in 2010. Lee will be included in the competition to be the right-handed complement to Adam Lind at first base.

Lerud, 31, spent the 2015 season at Triple-A Syracuse. Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto says Lerud was added for depth after the Mariners lost Jesus Sucre for six months recently due to ankle surgery.

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