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Originally published Monday, October 29, 2012 at 8:02 PM

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Mariners name Tim Kissner director of international scouting

Tim Kissner was named as the Mariners' new director of international operations on Monday and immediately hopped on a plane to the Dominican Republic.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Tim Kissner was announced Monday as the Mariners' new director of international operations, and he did the only logical thing: Hopped on a plane to the Dominican Republic.

Kissner will spend a week in the Dominican getting to know the Mariners' staff there and also watching players in winter-league and instructional-league games. Then he'll head to Venezuela for five days doing the same.

As the replacement for highly regarded Bob Engle, who resigned Oct. 5, Kissner will oversee all aspects of the Mariners' international scouting operation.

"The Mariners have always been very active internationally, and I've always thought highly of the way they did things," Kissner said in a phone interview. "My vision is to step in with the staff already in place and keep moving forward.

"I'm not going to make any real wholesale changes. We'll keep working together to grow the staff. With the new CBA and limits on dollar spending, I'd like to be able to out-scout our opponents."

Kissner, 41, comes to the Mariners from the Cubs organization, where he spent the past two seasons as the West Coast crosschecker. He worked the previous decade for the Phillies (2000-2010), including a stint as their Pacific Rim coordinator from the end of 2008 through 2010. Kissner said he made numerous scouting trips to Latin America during that time.

Kissner also scouted the Northwest and Southern California for the Phillies, signing Kyle Kendrick from Mount Vernon High School, among others. Kissner began his scouting career with the Indians as an area scout in 1999-2000.

Kissner was born in Homer, Alaska, grew up in Juneau, and played baseball at Mendocino Community College and Oregon State. Conveniently, he has lived in Kirkland since 2008.

"Tim is a high-energy guy with 14 years of scouting experience," Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said in a news release. "He is a nice addition to our organization, with a strong ability to evaluate and supervise, paired with a very strong work ethic."

Four Mariners become free agents

Four Mariners became free agents Monday, one day after the conclusion of the World Series. They are pitchers Kevin Millwood, Oliver Perez and George Sherrill, and catcher Miguel Olivo. Sherrill, who missed virtually the entire season after Tommy John surgery, was activated from the 60-day disabled list Monday.

The Mariners' 40-man roster now stands at 35 players. Free agents are not eligible to sign with other teams for six days, so this week is an exclusive negotiating window for teams to re-sign their former players.

Pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma technically isn't a free agent, but that could change. When he signed a one-year deal as a free agent from Japan in January, Iwakuma's contract called for him to be granted his release if he can't reach agreement with the Mariners by Saturday (the same day that free agents can sign with other teams).

If Iwakuma doesn't sign by Saturday, he would become a free agent. In essence, the stipulation makes Iwakuma no different from any other free agent: His team has a six-day exclusive window to re-sign him, then he becomes free to negotiate with other teams.

The Mariners are likely to make a strong play to re-sign Iwakuma, 31, who was 9-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 30 games. In 16 starts, he was 8-4 with a 2.65 ERA.

Ryan, Ackley are Gold Glove finalists

Shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley were named Gold Glove finalists at their positions. The winners will be announced Tuesday during the Gold Glove Awards Show, televised on ESPN2 at 6:30 p.m.

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com.

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