Mariners Insider Blog

Another Ichiro controversy that isn't

Ichiro Suzuki isn't a morning person.

The Seattle Mariners, wisely, have decided they can live with that.

Throughout spring training, the team has conducted early work for all players, which means by 8 a.m. most mornings there are players stretching, running, doing conditioning drills.

Ichiro wasn't here until two days ago.

When strength and conditioning coach Allen Wirtala invited Ichiro to join the early workers for the few early workouts the team has left on its spring schedule, Ichiro declined. He much preferred working on his own routine, which was much closer to game time.

As all issues eventually do, this one wound up on the desk of manager Don Wakamatsu, who saw it as much ado about nothing.

"When you've proven you know how to do the work you need to do, when you've shown you know how to prepare for a game, you've earned the right to do it your way," Wakamatsu said. "There are players here who don't know how to prepare.

"Ichiro and Adrian Beltre, for instance. I trust them. They've both won Gold Gloves in large part because of the work they do before games. They use their time wisely. Does everyone? No."

So Ichiro can stick to his routine, which includes getting to the park a little after 8:30 a.m. No one has complained about it. Wakamatsu hasn't made a team issue of it.

"If it's something that was detrimental to the team, I'd explain it. This isn't," he said.

Besides, the first-year manager is dealing with another mini-crisis – the kind that has nothing to do with rosters or lineups or in-game decisions.

"The big issue in camp the last few days has been ties," Wakamatsu said. "We're going to wear them on team flights. Some guys have never worn them before, and they're not happy. I'm not trying to be a hard ass – I'd rather wear a sweat suit when we fly.

"Players used to have to wear suits. I'm just going with ties, and I've told the guys who've asked about it, 'I'll have a few extra ties on the plane in case you forget yours.'"

Ichiro's response to the question of workouts?

"I'm tired of those kinds of questions," he said.

Hard to blame him.