Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki to enter front-office role for rest of '18 season

Ichiro has halted his playing career with the Mariners at 44 years old

Ichiro has halted his playing career with the Mariners at 44 years old

If Ichiro's retirement isn't permanent, like his agent hinted to, then his final game should come on either March 20 or March 21, 2019, in Tokyo, as the Mariners and A's will open their seasons in Japan next year.

"With Ichiro's track record of success, his personality, his unique perspective and his work ethic, he is singularly positioned to impact both our younger players and the veterans in the clubhouse", Dipoto said.

Officially, the Mariners released Suzuki to clear a spot on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. This was 2005, the year after Suzuki totaled a single-season best 262 hits.

The plan is for Ichiro to serve as a mentor to the players and coaching staff during the rest of the season.

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. "We really don't want him to change anything that he's doing right now, with the exception that he will not be playing in games".

In a way, his struggles this season (.205 on the year) shined a light on the reason as to why the M's signed the aging legend.

"I can't say for certain that maybe I won't put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout", Ichiro quipped to reporters, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

"While this agreement only covers the 2018 season, it is our goal that Ichiro be a member of the Seattle organization long-term", Dipoto said in Seattle. "He's very appreciative of them bringing him back".

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While Suzuki can't return to Seattle's roster this season, anything beyond 2018 is unknown.

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.

The final at-bat for Ichiro in the big leagues will be a swinging strikeout in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics on May 2. He also turned back the clock by robbing Jose Ramirez of a home run when he leaped up against the left-field wall and made a terrific catch.

The 10-time All-Star has a.311 average and 3,089 hits, not including the 1,278 hits he amassed in nine seasons in Japan.

He joined the Mariners in 2001, the last Seattle team to reach the postseason.

He played two more seasons with the Yankees before playing the last three with the Marlins as a part-time player.

Suzuki was the American League's rookie of the year and MVP when he moved to the majors in 2001 as a 27-year-old.

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