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Ichiro Suzuki joining Mariners' front office

04 May 2018

Will be updated after 3:30 p.m. PT availability.

Suzuki will immediately become a special assistant to the chairman, focusing on helping the team with outfield play, base running and hitting.

"I can't say for certain that maybe I won't put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout", Ichiro quipped to reporters, according to Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times.

The Seattle Mariners-the team that initially signed Suzuki out of Japan to great fanfare in 2001 and brought him back for a final bow this season-abruptly released him Thursday and announced he would transition into a front office role.

Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki right and Robinson Cano laugh before the team's baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday

If Ichiro is done for good, he leaves Major League Baseball with a career.311/.355/.402 slash line, 117 home runs, 780 RBIs, 509 steals, and 3,089 hits.

While the 44-year-old can not return to the active roster this season, nowhere in the team's announcement did it say he is retiring.

Speaking to reporters in Seattle on Thursday, Ichiro said he will take on his new role if it helps the team he loves.

Seattle's staff and players have raved about Suzuki's presence in the clubhouse. "That is our number-one priority and Ichiro's number-one priority".

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Ichiro was hitting just.205 in 15 games appeared in this season. Ichiro started Wednesday night and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki, right, and Robinson Cano laugh before the team's baseball game against the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, in Seattle.

Ichiro has spent parts of 13 seasons with the Mariners. "We really don't want him to change anything that he's doing right now, with the exception that he will not be playing in games".

While Suzuki can't return to Seattle's roster this season, anything beyond 2018 is unknown.

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Ichiro's agent, John Boggs, said the move was a way for the outfielder to remain with the Seattle organization while keeping his options open for 2019 and beyond. "He's taking on a different role for 2018, and 2019 has yet to evolve".

He not only became the first player to attain his 3,000 hit in a Marlins uniform, his pursuit of the milestone in 2016 was one of the compelling and uplifting stories around the team during a long drought of losing seasons. While Suzuki struggled at the plate, he did have a few defensive gems, including robbing the Cleveland Indians' Jose Ramirez of a homer on the opening weekend of the season and reminding everyone of his greatness as an all-around player.

The 2001 AL Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year was as influential as any position player in the game's vast history.

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Ichiro Suzuki joining Mariners' front office