General manager Jerry DiPoto confirmed that Suzuki would be a member of the Mariners' 28-man roster for its two-game, season-opening series with the Astros on March 20 and 21, Emily Caron of Sports Illustrated reports. Currently a free agent, Suzuki is expected to re-sign with Seattle on a minor-league deal and take part in big-league spring training. While the games in Tokyo will count toward the standings for both Seattle and Houston, both squads will be afforded three extra players on their active rosters for those contests, which occur a week before the rest of the majors begins its regular season. It most likely will amount to a final sendoff for Suzuki in his home country, but DiPoto left the door open for the 45-year-old to earn his way onto the 25-man roster once the Mariners resume play stateside March 28 against Boston. Suzuki played just 15 games at the major-league level in 2018 before moving into a front-office role with the Mariners for the rest of the season in early May.
General manager Jerry Dipoto said Suzuki will be on Seattle's Opening Day roster when the team kicks off its season against the A's in Tokyo, assuming he's healthy, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "I would stop short of guaranteeing it, because we have to make sure he's healthy. But he'll be on our roster," Dipoto said. "We feel strongly that it's the right thing to do for our franchise and the right thing to do for the NPB and believe it's the right thing to do for Ichiro. What happens thereafter remains to be seen." Suzuki opened the 2018 season with the Mariners, but ultimately transitioned into a front-office role in May following a slow start to the campaign (.205/.255/.205 through 15 games). It sounds like Suzuki will rejoin the Mariners one last time for the team's two-game set in his native Japan, as both teams will be allowed to carry 28 players for the season-opening series. The veteran outfielder will likely call it quits when Seattle returns stateside and shifts back to a traditional 25-man roster, though nothing has been confirmed at this point. It will be a well-deserved sendoff for the Japanese legend, who hit a combined .322/.373/.434 with 4,367 hits, 235 homers and 708 stolen bases across 27 seasons in the majors and Japan.
Suzuki will relinquish his active roster spot to be a special assistant to the chairman for the Mariners for the remainder of the season. This announcement came out of nowhere, though it makes some sense given the limited playing time the Japanese legend received since Ben Gamel returned to action. Suzuki hit .205 with five runs scored in 47 plate appearances this season. It's unclear if this is a full retirement, but he certainly has produced an impressive career if he does decide to call it quits for good.
Suzuki is not in the lineup Monday against the Astros, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. With the Mariners facing the left-handed Dallas Keuchel, Suzuki will head to the bench as the team looks to get another righty in the lineup. Guillermo Heredia will start in left field and hit seventh while Suzuki heads to the bench.
Suzuki is not in the lineup Sunday against the A's, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Suzuki will head to the bench after going a combined 1-for-7 in his past two starts. Guillermo Heredia takes over in left field, batting seventh.