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(Reuters) - The San Diego Padres have hired Japanese pitching pioneer Hideo Nomo as an advisor for baseball operations to strengthen their presence in the Pacific Rim, the National League franchise said on Thursday.
The Padres already have four full-time scouts in the Pacific Rim and expect the 47-year-old Nomo to help them gain a stronger foothold in terms of finding talent in the region.
"We are proud to welcome Hideo to the Padres organization," San Diego general manager A.J. Preller said in a statement.
"His expertise and passion for baseball will be a significant asset to the Padres and I look forward to having his input going forward."
Nomo blazed a trail for more than 50 Japanese players when he made a permanent move to Major League Baseball in 1995.
"I am very happy to join the San Diego Padres and return to Major League Baseball," the former pitcher said.
"My hope is that my advice will be handed down to the young players of the Padres. It is also an opportunity for me to learn, and I hope to help bring a World (Series) championship to the Padres."
Nomo went 13-6 with a 2.54 earned run average (ERA) in his first season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, also becoming the first Japanese player to play in an All-Star Game that season.
Easily recognizable on the mound due to his slow and deliberate wind-up, Nomo played over a span of 13 seasons in the MLB for eight different teams, completing a 123-109 overall record with a 4.24 ERA and 1,918 strikeouts. He retired in 2008.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien