March 19, 2018

Ichiro close to signing a deal to return to the Mariners

07 March 2018, 11:40 | Donald Newman

Ben Gamel is the second Mariners outfielder in less than a year to suffer an oblique strain

Ben Gamel is the second Mariners outfielder in less than a year to suffer an oblique strain

Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel has been diagnosed with a strained right oblique muscle and is expected to be sidelined anywhere from four to six weeks, the team told reporters on Monday (Twitter link via's Greg Johns).

The Mariners have not reached the postseason since Ichiro's historic rookie season in 2001, when he was both the American League MVP and Rookie of the Year while leading Seattle to a league-record 116 wins in the regular season.

The Seattle Mariners are working to finalize a one-year contract agreement with Ichiro Suzuki, according to a source. Ichiro has been working out in Japan and was expected to play there in 2018 unless he had an offer from Major League Baseball. Between that, the fact that Guillermo Heredia is recovering from shoulder surgery and the fact that one of their healthy outfielders - Dee Gordon - is actually a second baseman means that there are some opportunities for outfielders with Seattle.

Ichiro became a free agent after the Miami Marlins declined his option for 2018.

Ichiro later joined the New York Yankees and then the Marlins, where he played in 136 games as a reserve outfielder last season and batted 109 times as a pinch hitter.

- Sept 9: set Major League Baseball record for most pinch hit at-bats in a season with 84.

Suzuki came to Seattle in 2001 after playing 9 years in Japan. Last season he hit a dismal.255/.318/.332 for just 50 hits and 17 walks in 215 plate appearances. That would make him unavailable for the start of the season.

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