UPDATE 1:18: Apparently Ichiro has been cleared to work out by team physicians. KIRO Mariners reporter Shannon Drayer is reporting this. This is good news for Ichiro and the Mariners. I'm sure the Mariners won't want the workouts to be too strenuous. But that he's able to take some BP, and such is good."
UPDATE: I just got off the phone with GM Jack Zduriencik and he said that Ichiro was not happy with the decision to be placed on the disabled list. He wanted to try and play through the discomfort and fatigue.
"At the end of the day, we took the decision out of his hands," Zduriencik said.
Even after the diagnosis, Ichiro wanted to get some work in to stay shape.
"He wanted to work out today," Zduriencik said. "We had to tell him no."
The remedy for this is heavy rest and lack of activity, which isn't something Ichiro is used to or will accept easily, but Zduriencik said the Mariners will be vigilant in making sure that he does not try to rush himself back.
"We want him to really rest because that's the remedy for this," Zduriencik said.
Zduriencik said the decision to place him on the DL was prudent, considering the time of the year.
"This was a decision based on what's best for 162 games, not the early window of games he would miss," he said. "Had we allowed him to play, or this thing got worse later in the season, you're looking at the possibility of him missing 14 or 15 games."
Zduriencik seemed confident that Ichiro would play the day he becomes eligible, which is April 15th and the second game of the opening home stand against the Angels. There is a slim possibility that he could join the team in Oakland next weekend.
"He'll also have the off-day workout in Seattle (April 13th) and I think he should be ready to play in that second game, if everything goes as planned," Zduriencik said.
As for the 25-man roster, Zduriencik said they are going to wait till after the games in Las Vegas to decide. Currently, the Mariners have 36 players on the 40-man roster after shipping Rule V pick-up Reegie Corona back to the Yankees (see above), which means that Mike Wilson or Mike Morse could be added to the 40-man as a replacement. Of course, knowing Zduriencik he could also find somebody on the waiver wire as well.
The Mariners announced today that Ichiro will start the season on the 15-day disabled list because of a bleeding ulcer.
"It was a very difficult decision to place Ichiro on the disabled list," GM Jack Zduriencik said, "especially since we know what a fierce competitor he is, and how important it is to him to help the team. However, we determined it was in both his best interest, and the best interest of the club, to place him on the DL at this time."
Ichiro had been suffering severe fatigue, which caused him to miss the Mariners last three Cactus League games (March 30-April 1). He was examined by doctors, including Mariners team physician, Dr. Mitch Storey in Arizona yesterday. They determined that he had suffered a bleeding ulcer. The ulcer is not currently bleeding, but in the interim, doctors have ordered restricted activity.
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Ichiro will be eligible to return to Major League games on Wednesday, April 15.
While this comes as a shock to many fans, if you know Ichiro, this isn't surprising. This is a man who internalizes everything, particularly when it comes to baseball. He swallows it and hides it under a cool facade.
In the past, he had been bothered by stomach issues at times. In his approach to break George Sisler's record in 2004, he admitted to having stomach aches.
I truly believe the grind of the WBC had a lot to do with it. The crushing Japanese national media attention, the lofty expectations of a nation of fans and his own extremely personal goals placed a lot of pressure on him. Pressure which he just he kept inside. He's not the type to let it out with a rant or a temper tantrum, that's not his way. Call it a poker face if you want.
One thing I noticed in his postgame celebrations of this year's championship was a sense of relief. Sure he looked overjoyed to win, a look I hadn't seen from him in a while. But was it joy that they had won, or was it joy that they had won, and all of the other nonsense - like the high attention to his at times slumping bat - was finally over.
Suzuki appeared in four games with the Mariners in Spring Training, hitting .417 (5-for-12). He reported to camp on Thursday, March 26, after leading Team Japan to its second consecutive World Baseball Classic championship.
Ichiro has played in 197 consecutive games (dating back to Aug. 26, 2007), the 4th-longest active Iron Man streak in the Majors. He has played in 807 of Mariners last 810 games over the last five seasons, and since coming to Seattle in 2001, has played in 1,280 of 1,296 possible games (missed only 16 games in 8 years).