SEATTLE (AP) Ichiro Suzuki has agreed to a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, paving the way for the 45-year-old to play in the Mariners' season-opening series in Japan.
Suzuki's agent, John Boggs, confirmed the agreement on Wednesday and said Suzuki's deal would become a major league contract if he is added to Seattle's expanded roster for the two games the Mariners will play against Oakland to open the season in March in Tokyo. Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto has said Suzuki is expected to be on the roster for those games.
Suzuki started last season playing for the Mariners but transitioned into a front-office role as a "special assistant to the chairman" that allowed him to take part in pregame workouts and batting practice but not to be in the dugout during games. The move ended his season abruptly but with the knowledge that Seattle was opening 2019 in Japan, which would be a highly anticipated opportunity for him to play in his home country. Suzuki was hitting .205 in 44 at-bats during his limited action in 2018, and all nine of his hits this were singles.