Ichiro Suzuki is leaving the playing field and transitioning into a front office role with the Seattle Mariners, although he is not completely shutting the door on playing again.
The Mariners announced Thursday that Ichiro was becoming a special assistant to the chairman effective immediately. The team says Suzuki will have an active presence with the team and assist with outfield play, base running and hitting.
But nowhere in the announcement do they say the 44-year-old is retiring. Ichiro is in his 18th season and had appeared in 15 games this year for the Mariners. Ichiro started Wednesday night and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. He hit .205 in 44 at-bats and all nine of his hits this season were singles.
Ichiro has spent parts of 13 seasons with the Mariners. He's also played for Miami and the New York Yankees.
Over 18 Major League seasons, beginning with his move to Seattle in 2001 at age 27, Ichiro compiled a remarkable 3,089 hits.iPhone transfer software
Even more impressive, when added to his hit total with Japan's Onix Blue Wave, Ichiro had 4,367 hits as a professional - more than Pete Rose's Major League record of 4,256.
Ichiro joined Fred Lynn in 2001 as the only Major League players to win Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season. Lynn did it with the Boston Red Sox in 1975.
The team said Suzuki will continue to have a presence with the Mariners both at home and on the road and will assist with outfield play, baserunning and hitting.