Baseball star Ichiro Suzuki, who signed with the Seattle Mariners from the Orix BlueWave earlier in the offseason, on Thursday refuted a weekly magazine article on a sex scandal involving the outfielder and a 30-year-old housewife.

Commenting on the article in the latest issue of Friday magazine, Suzuki admitted to "having acted imprudently" regarding his relationship with the woman but argued that he did not know she was married.

In a five-page article, the magazine quoted the woman as saying Suzuki, who has known her since 1995, called her up to a hotel in Tokyo where she reluctantly had an affair with him in November 1999, two months after her marriage.

Suzuki, 27, got married to his wife, Yumiko, the following month.

The woman, who was born in Fukuoka, claimed the incident forced her to live separately from her husband, whose protest resulted in Suzuki's payment of 12.5 million yen in consolation money.

Suzuki, more popularly known in Japan by his first name, said the purpose of the money is different from what was reported.

He added that he understands a settlement had been made between the parties involved with a promise not to reveal the whole affair.

"I've left it up to my lawyer," said Suzuki, who is staying at his home in Aichi Prefecture after signing a three-year, $14 million deal with the Mariners in Seattle early this month.

"I talked about this matter with my wife some time ago and it's not a problem between us any more," Suzuki said.

Last month, Seattle bid more than $13 million dollars to win the exclusive rights to negotiate with Suzuki under the posting system agreed to by Japanese professional baseball and the major leagues.

Suzuki is the first Japanese position player to sign a major league contract.