Ichiro to go into spring training with Mariners as a player

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki laughs in the dugout prior to the baseball game against the Oakland Athletics Monday, Aug. 13, 2018, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Ichiro Suzuki will go to spring training next season with the Seattle Mariners as a player.

Seattle general manager Jerry Dipoto says Suzuki will be in spring training with the Mariners in 2019 and hinted the veteran outfielder could be on the roster when the club opens the season next March with a pair of games in Tokyo against the Oakland Athletics.

Dipoto said Suzuki will be given a chance to be part of the 28-man roster the team is allowed to have in Japan, but there were no guarantees he'd have a spot on the 25-man roster when the rest of the regular season begins back home.

Dipoto says the Mariners will give Suzuki an opportunity "as both a coaching presence and a player presence," when the Mariners arrive at spring training in February.

Suzuki made Seattle's roster out of spring training this season, but moved to a special assistant role with the front office in May. The new role kept Suzuki from playing again in 2018, although he remained with the team throughout the season, taking part in batting practice with the idea of trying to return in 2019.

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