Ichiro Suzuki is nearing a return to the Seattle Mariners, who are working to finalize an agreement with the former franchise icon, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick.
USA Today Sports first reported Monday that Ichiro and the Mariners were close to a one-year major league deal.
Ichiro became a free agent when the Miami Marlins declined his $2 million club option for 2018. The move by the Marlins was the start of an anticipated payroll purge by Derek Jeter’s new ownership group. Jeter and Ichiro were New York Yankees teammates for 2? seasons.
Ichiro ranks 22nd with 3,080 career hits but started only 22 games last year and had 196 at-bats, the lowest total of his 17-year career. He set a big league mark with 109 plate appearances as a pinch hitter, and had a franchise record 27 pinch-hits.
Ichiro was batting .202 on July 4 but hit .315 the rest of the way to finish at .255. He became just the sixth player 43 or older to record at least 50 hits.
Ichiro, who has said he wants to play until he’s 50, was 27 when he began his major league career. He had 1,278 hits while playing nine years in Japan
I wanted Lindor right-handed, etc., so we put him [Chapman] in the game there. And I also had told myself, actually before the game, is that if you get a big lead and you have to use him early, make sure you get somebody up and get him out. So I had it in my mind to do that, and I just didn’t say it to [pitching coach] Chris Bosio in time.”
Would that decision come back to haunt Maddon the next night? After all, it was only five extra pitches and a few easy warm-ups. But combined with his stint on Wednesday, Chapman had thrown 62 pitches, way more than he had in any back-to-back outings all season.
“I feel blessed that I’m just healthy to pitch in this situation,” Chapman said after Game 6. “This is [why] the Cubs brought me over.”
It’s the one move Maddon regretted. How could he forget to get a pitcher up?
“Because you’re thinking about so many things offensively, and you get through the moment [the home run] you wanted to get through, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘If we score right here, you have to get him out.’ So I’m thinking then, ‘Inning’s over, inning’s over.’ And I’m waiting, waiting, I said, ‘Get Stropy up.’ And I just said it too late.”
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