Ichiro Suzuki, one of the most freakishly talented and enigmatic players in baseball history, ended his season-and potentially his major-league playing career-in the most Ichiro of ways: shrouded in an aura of mystery.
Except there was no game for the 44-year-old Suzuki to get ready for.
Ichiro Suzuki was released Thursday by the Seattle Mariners and is shifting into a front office role with the team, although he is not completely shutting the door on playing again. "Seattle is where he wants to be and where he's most comfortable".
Ichiro will serve as a mentor for Mariners players as well as helping out with outfield play, baserunning and hitting.
At age 44, Ichiro has appeared in 15 games, hitting.205 with 5 runs scored this season.
Perhaps the most obvious opportunity on the horizon for Suzuki is the opening of the 2019 season, when Seattle is scheduled to face Oakland for two games in Japan.
Godspeed in your new role, Ichiro.
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"During the game I will be doing the same preparations I've been doing the entire time".
Ichiro Suzuki is still a member of the Seattle Mariners.
The Seattle Mariners didn't use the word "retire". Ichiro is still holding out hope to play the 2019 season.
While Suzuki can't return to Seattle's roster this season, anything beyond 2018 is unknown.
On Aug. 7, 2016, he recorded his 3,000th career hit in the Major Leagues - a triple - becoming one of 31 players to reach that milestone. The Mariners needed an outfielder at the start of the season only because Ben Gamel was going to spend a few weeks on the DL.
After nearly six years away, Suzuki returned this spring to help patch an injury-depleted outfield on the team he played for from 2001 to 2012. The 2001 season marked Ichiro's first of 10 consecutive seasons with at least 200 hits - a Major League record - including a single-season Major League record 262 hits in 2004. He's also played for Miami and the New York Yankees. He joined Boston's Fred Lynn (1975) as the only players in either league to claim MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
From 2001 to 2010, Ichiro won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards and made 10 straight trips to the All-Star Game.