How much longer? “At least 50,” Ichiro told reporters through his interpreter on Friday.
The Marlins hold a $2 million team option for next season, but have yet to decide on the backup outfielder’s future with the team.
“There’s no reason not to be back,” Ichiro, who turns 44 on Oct. 22, told reporters. “It’s definitely a place I would want to be.”
Ichiro, who ranks 22nd on the all-time hits list with 3,080, has a .259 batting average this season with three home runs and 20 RBIs. He is one hit shy of tying the major league record of 28 pinch-hits in a season, set by the Rockies’ John Vander Wal in 1995.
“You get judged by your numbers and what you’ve left behind when you leave this game,” Ichiro said. “I think everybody in here would want to [break the record], because we’re all professionals. We’re all trying to do something and leave a mark on the game.
“I have an opportunity now to do something that can leave something behind. I think it’s a great opportunity.”
With former New York Yankees teammate Derek Jeter about to take enter the picture as CEO and co-owner of the Marlins, there is a lot of uncertainty as to what the offseason will bring. If there is a rebuild, it could lead to more playing time for Suzuki, if the team decides to keep him around.
“He could definitely play more than he’s played this year, for sure,” manager Don Mattingly told reporters. “I use him in all three spots. … You trust him anywhere you put him on the field.
“He’s an amazing guy. [Ichiro wouldn’t] play six, seven days a week, but for him to play three days a week I think is something that’s conceivable.”