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Orix contacts free agent Ichiro

Kyodo

The Orix Buffaloes made contact Sunday with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who is currently a free agent from the New York Yankees.

Orix’s director of baseball operations, Yoshio Murayama, said he met with Ichiro for about 10 minutes in Kobe.

Speculation has been rife about whether Ichiro will play in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and what team the All-Star outfielder will play for next season. His former team Orix has expressed interest in reacquiring the 39-year-old.

“I asked him how he was doing,” said Murayama. “We have an unspoken relationship. I said we can talk when things settle down for him,” said Murayama.

Ichiro, who played an integral role in helping Japan win the 2006 and 2009 WBC, is reportedly considering sitting out next year’s event, which would involve travel between Japan and the United States.

If he stays in New York, Ichiro might opt to prepare for the 2013 season rather than take part in the March 2-19 WBC.