Baseball / MLB

Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto expects Ichiro Suzuki to play, coach at spring training

Kyodo

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said Monday that Ichiro Suzuki will both play and coach when they begin spring training in February.

Dipoto told a news conference he expects Ichiro to have “both a coaching presence and a player presence” at spring training, adding the 18-year veteran could be on the roster when the Mariners open their 2019 season against the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome in March.

Ichiro, who has not announced his retirement, is now a special assistant to the Mariners chairman and under MLB rules is not allowed to be in the dugout.

Though the new role kept him from playing again in 2018, Ichiro traveled with the team throughout the season and continued to take part in batting practice.

The 44-year-old Ichiro rejoined the Mariners on a one-year deal in March, but moved into his front office role in May after hitting .205 with nine hits in 15 games.