JUPITER, FLORIDA – Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki returned to training for the first time in nine days on Thursday after recovering from a knee bruise.
The 43-year-old had a minor outfield collision with a teammate on Feb. 21 that caused swelling above his right knee. The veteran also had discomfort to his lower back, but can now take part in his first preseason game on Sunday against the Houston Astros.
“I really feel at ease. I’d say I’m around 80 percent back to my full fitness, rather than 90. It’s safer thinking that way,” said Ichiro, who took part in throwing drills from outfield and batting practice during his hour-long practice with his teammates.
“I expect I’ll be playing with around the same intensity in the game (on Sunday). Of course it doesn’t mean I’ll be hitting lightly or easing up, it’s more like relaxing a little bit.”
Ichiro, who was having electric therapies and machine exercises three times a day each during his rehab, has never had a spell on the sidelines at this time of the year during his 26-year professional career but hopes to make the most out of the situation.
“I could train like no other time in the past. The injury occurred, so I’m doing things that I believe are best given the circumstances,” he said.
“I’ll have to try and make myself say (in the future) this was all for the good. That’s the way I’ve been thinking, and it will remain so.”