Kinda. But for how long?
When Ichiro Suzuki hung up his cleats last May to become a “special assistant” for the Seattle Mariners, many thought they might have just seen the last of the ten-time Gold Glove award-winning outfielder.
But here’s the thing…dude never retired.
Matter of fact, his agent John Boggs even insisted that the then-44-year-old wasn’t done with baseball.
“He is not retiring,” Boggs said at the time. “He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve.”
Thursday, the Seattle Mariners announced the hit machine would be resetting his Hall of Fame clock and in uniform when they open the regular season March 20 at Japan’s famed Tokyo Dome against the team Ichiro debuted against in 2001…the Oakland A’s.
Oh, and get this…he’ll be there as an active player.
“Ichi will be on our team when we go to Tokyo,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “We are still committed to the idea of developing this roster.”
Dipoto went on to add that Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith and Domingo Santana will comprise the outfield with Jay Bruce at designated hitter. So where exactly does Ichiro fit in?
“We’re not going to predetermine anything. We’ll give him the opportunity to come in and do what he does, and prepare the way he prepares,” Dipoto continued. “Frankly if he rolls out in Tokyo and gets seven hits in two games, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll play a third game.”
Ichiro appeared in just 15 games for the Mariners in 2018. He had nine hits in 44 at bats.