Ichiro is back. And chatty.
He held court with the media for more than 10 minutes prior to the game, a time when he usually doesn't talk.
He joked. Took a couple shots at reporters. Reflected on being traded and being back in Seattle.
Ichiro, who spent 12 years with the Mariners, said returning and heading directly to the visitor’s side was different. Though he was traded July 23, 2012 for cash, Danny Farquhar and D.J. Mitchell while the Yankees were in Seattle, this is his first trip back after time away.
“It just really feels weird,” Ichiro said through interpreter Allen Turner. “Obviously, I know this place really well and am really close to it. At the same time, it feels a little distant. It just feels a little weird to be here.”
The day Ichiro was traded was odd. An otherwise average afternoon at the ball park turned into moving day for an icon.
Now 39, Ichiro is in the first year of a two-year deal with the Yankees. It’s been a struggle. He came into Thursday hitting .266 with a .303 on-base percentage, numbers very similar to the ones he carried (.261, .288) during his last half a season with Seattle.
He was asked how much longer he thinks he will play.
“In 2001, when I first came over, if anyone said I would be here 12 years, probably wouldn’t have believed it,” Ichiro said. “I don’t think I would have said that at that time. It’s really difficult to really plan out what your future holds. Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
> Also, Blake Beavan is up and Hector Noesi back down. Manager Eric Wedge said the bullpen is actually in pretty good shape despite last night's marathon.