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Japan baseball surprised by Ichiro trade

CBSSports.com wire reports

TOKYO -- Japan's baseball fraternity has expressed a mixture of surprise and excitement at the news that Ichiro Suzuki has been traded to the New York Yankees.

The Yankees acquired the star outfielder from Seattle in a trade for two young pitchers, bringing a close to an 11½-year career with the Mariners.

"It happened so suddenly I was surprised," Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh said on Tuesday. "However, this is something he wanted and I look forward to seeing him play for the Yankees."

The news was the top story on national broadcaster NHK's Tuesday morning news program.

Suzuki is by far the most recognizable athlete in Japan where is revered for his stoicism, perseverance and attention to detail.

Like many in Japan, Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player in the major leagues, said he thinks the move will be good for Suzuki.

"There are a lot of great players on the Yankees and he should fit right in," Murakami said. "The Mariners had a lot of young players and are not contenders so it wasn't easy for Ichiro there."

Suzuki went 1 for 4 with his 16th stolen base in his Yankees debut and caught the final out of New York's 4-1 victory against Seattle on Monday at Safeco Field.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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