Ichiro plans to play for “many” seasons following 2014

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees

Ichiro Suzuki‘s contract with the Yankees might end after this season, but he doesn’t have any plans to stop playing baseball after the 2014 season concludes.

Ichiro told ESPN New York that he plans to continue playing beyond the 2014 season, and retirement is not an option for him.

“Retirement from baseball is something I haven’t even thought about….For me, I feel there’s no reason for me to retire right now,” Suzuki said.

Ichiro is aware his playing time has reduced severely, now that the Yankees have Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano placed in the outfield and DH slots, but he knew what he was getting himself into when he re-signed with the team following the 2012 season.

“When I first signed here I knew what I was getting into,” Ichiro said. “I knew every year there would be changes and things would happen that maybe we can’t control. But I can’t allow that to affect the way I prepare or go into the season.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to feel once the season starts.  I don’t know what it’s going to be like. But right now, it doesn’t change the way I prepare myself throughout the spring.”

Ichiro plans to do whatever the Yankees ask of him, even if it means his role on the Yankees could simply mean being a bench player.

Some Notes:

Mark Teixeira hit in the cage this morning and he is still on track to make his Spring debut on Thursday. No news about the wrist so at this point, no news is good news.

– Alfonso Soriano said he feels much better and he hopes to get into a game by Wednesday.

David Robertson is slated to make his Spring Training debut. It’s his first game since being appointed the Yankees closer, following the retirement of Mariano Rivera.

Andy Pettitte is in camp this morning as a guest instructor. I’m not sure if he plans to come out of retirement again, but it’s highly unlikely.

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9 Responses to Ichiro plans to play for “many” seasons following 2014

  1. No surprise. Still the best all-around outfielder on the team. He will hit .270 and work a pitcher. Still can steal a base. Needs 258 hits to reach 3,000 in US MLB. Given the relative fragility of Ellsbury and Gardner, and the balky knees and age on both Beltran and Soriano, it would serve the Yanks well to keep Ichiro this season. He will get plenty of playing time.

    He also hits lefties (in fact statistically better than righties). Add to this the fact that the Yanks are giving Soriano a First Baseman's mitt knowing that Mark Teixeira's availability is terminally dicey, makeing Ichiro that much more valuable as outfield depth, Is he the player he was 5 years ago? Of course not. Is he superior to similar type guys like Ellsbury and Gardner, NO (though he is better defensively).

    Make no mistake, he is still a weapon, is refreshingly durable and the type player Pennant Winners carry on their roster.

    He will get his 3,000th hit in 2015 in another uniform. But it's somewhat heartwarming that Ichiro, often demonized as a prima-donna knows and accepts his back-up roll. He will get plenty of work and I am sure it will help Tanaka adjust to the US and MLB having Ichiro and Kuroda as teammates.

  2. Michael R says:

    Hmm, Soriano at 1B. Hadn't heard. Sounds like a good idea if needed.

  3. Yankees fan says:

    Soriano played 2b back 2006 he could also play their.

    • He has played the bulk of his career at 2nd, but was converted to the outfield because his range was shot by the time he got to the Cubs. He still certainly has plenty of range let to play 1st Base.

    • It wasn't just his range, Soriano was a bad infielder. He could throw better than Nunez, but his glove was about the same. He actually turned into a decent defensive outfielder for a while in his prime. As for first base, I would say why not try it. But just realize that first base isn't an easy position and that there would be no guarantee that he could do it at all.

  4. ron lanyi says:

    Ichiro for 1B back-up, too?

  5. He is such a good athlete he could handle SS if needed (and he may have to ;)). Joking aside, Cashman answered your question the other day and said Ichiro was not an option at First Base. Glad to see though they are thinking outside the box here and not depending on another scrap heap guy like.Overbay or Russ Canzler to be the alternate at First Base. IMHO I don't think it would be a bad thing to work out Beltran at First as well. You can only have so many DH's.