Ichiro says goodbye to adoring fans; Mariners beat A's in 12

Because Seattle's three-game April series in Cleveland was snowed out, Major League Baseball had Ichiro's crew endure three separate return trips on off days during the season to make up the contests.

He may now be retired, but Ichiro will still be around the Mariners organization as a special adviser.

Ichiro received hugs from his teammates, including Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr., once he reached the dugout. Fans clamored for a chance to see the real Ichiro, but often times were left wanting more as Ichiro remained very private and even guarded during his career.

Kikuchi became the first Japanese-born player to make his major league debut in Japan.

Ichiro Suzuki drew all the cheers. Kikuchi knows he couldn't find a better mentor in Ichiro, and took every opportunity throughout Spring Training this year to learn from him.

"I didn't think I would be in this place and be able to finish the way this happened", he said via a translator.

He said his contract was through the two games in Japan, and said he decided before arriving last week to step away. Butterflies in my heart in my chest and I spoken with him with excitement. "But for me, he gave me the greatest gift that I can play with him".

"After the reception I got today, how could I possibly have any regrets?" he said. It prompted a memorable call by Mariners Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus and was just one of several great moments in a season in which Ichiro was an All-Star and took home both the American League Rookie of the Year and MVP awards.

Asked about his tears at Ichiro's celebratory exit, Gordon said, "I was just glad you guys did this for him".

He was 0 for 1 with a walk and a popout in the 9-7 win over the A's on Wednesday. Suzuki ended up playing in the majors for another six years.

Ichiro went 0 for 4 in his farewell.

The seven-time defending batting champion in Japan's Pacific League, Ichiro nonetheless entered MLB at a time when Japanese success stories were exclusively pitchers.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said Ichiro will play Thursday, but didn't say whether he'll start. Roenis Elias relieved and got Matt Chapman to hit a comebacker, but first baseman Jay Bruce dropped the throw, allowing a run to score. As part of a Japanese spring training tour in 1999, Ichiro and other players - and the media horde that followed - joined camp, setting the stage for his posting and eventual signing with Seattle. But it seems likely he will not be on the Mariners' 25-man roster when the regular season resumes with a four-game series in Seattle against the Boston Red Sox.


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