BOSTON – Ichiro Suzuki is not thinking about how many more years he has left in his career, he just knows that he’s going to play again next season.
But the soon-to-be free agent answered cryptically when asked about perhaps returning to the Yankees: “That might be a question you shouldn’t ask right now,” Ichiro said through a translator.
He also had this to say when talking about his role as a fourth outfielder with the Yanks this year: “Obviously there’s a lot of things that go on that the fans and the media can’t see, that goes on inside (the organization).
“But what I can say is that the experiences I had this year? Those experiences are going to help me in the future. It’ll be somewhat of a support for me because of the experiences I had this year.”
Suzuki, who turns 41 in October, probably would not have played as much as he did had Carlos Beltran not gotten hurt this season. Ichiro finished with a slash line of .284/.324/.340 and 15 steals in 359 at-bats over 143 games.
He is closing in on 3,000 hits – he is 156 shy after going 1-for-3 in the Yanks’ 9-5 win Sunday. Is that a motivation to keep playing?
“Obviously you want to get there, but that’s not why you play the game and that’s not why I am going to play the game,” he said.
Ichiro added that it would be tough to play if he didn’t think he could be a starter again. “I don’t know where I’m going to be, but as a player, you want to play,” he said. “You want to be in that position.
“If you don’t feel that way, I don’t know how you play the game.”
Asked how many more years he might have left, Ichiro replied: “That’s a tough question because right now I am not even thinking about it. I feel great and that’s not something I even think about.”