Ichiro back in Mariners camp at 45
Japan Times -- Feb 18
Ichiro Suzuki fluidly went through a variety of stretches on the floor in the Seattle Mariners clubhouse even before going onto the field. Once outside, he smoothly went through fielding, hitting and baserunning drills.

At 45 and in spring training again, Ichiro is working toward the chance to play for his original major league team in his home country.

"Being able to put on the Seattle Mariners uniform as a player, being here the first day, it is just amazing, it is great," Ichiro said through a translator. "Very satisfied with today and how it went, and I'm just going to take it day by day."

The former MVP and 10-time All-Star outfielder is in camp on a minor league deal after serving in a special assistant's role for most of last year, when he still worked out with the team. If he's healthy, Ichiro will be part of the Mariners' expanded 28-player roster next month for their two season-opening games in Tokyo against Oakland.

"My body really hasn't changed," he said.

Ichiro, who said he took off only two or three days from working out during the offseason, checked in at camp with only 7 percent body fat.

"He looks unbelievable, like he's prepared every minute of every day to get to this time, and it's probably because he has," general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "He's so focused on his goals, and right now his goal is to make sure that he is on that plane when we leave for Tokyo."

Large groups of fans and Japanese media followed Ichiro everywhere he went during the first workout.

When asked how much he looked forward to the series in Japan, Ichiro insisted that he's not yet thinking about that. The player with 4,367 career hits - 3,089 in 18 MLB seasons and 1,278 in nine seasons in Japan with the Orix BlueWave before that - is focused on his daily work.

News source: Japan Times
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