Ichiro Suzuki returned to the Seattle Mariners at age 44 for the start of the 2018 season, but his time on the field has come to an end after 29 games.
The team announced today that he is moving into a front-office position as the Special Assistant to the Chairman, effective immediately, where he will collaborate with staff, provide mentorship and assist with outfield play, baserunning and hitting.
Jerry Dipoto on Ichiro's transition to the role of Special Assistant to the Chairman. pic.twitter.com/O7nEaDGy9R
— Mariners (@Mariners) May 3, 2018
Ichiro’s final game happened on May 2 at Safeco Field in Seattle. I happened to be there, and took a short video of what very well could be his final at-bat in a major league game.
— Dan Shafer (@DanRShafer) May 3, 2018
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, this doesn’t mean Ichiro is immediately retiring. Major League Baseball announced earlier this week that the Mariners and Oakland Athletics will open the 2019 season with a series in Tokyo, Japan, on March 20 and 21. It would certainly make sense to see Ichiro suit up one more time in his home country, and then announce his retirement.
Ichiro’s agent, John Boggs: “He is not retiring. He’s taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve.” Might Ichiro return for the team’s opening series next season in Japan? “There is always that possibility . . . The future has yet to be determined.”
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 3, 2018
Ichiro has appeared in 15 games this season, and has batted .205 with zero extra-base hits. In his final game, he gave the fans one more highlight with a running, over-the-shoulder catch.
— ROOT SPORTS™ | NW (@ROOTSPORTS_NW) May 3, 2018
It remains to be seen whether or not he'll ever play again in Seattle, but he's surely headed to Cooperstown as soon as he decides to hang it up for good.
Read the Mariners’ full announcement about the Seattle legend’s new role here.