SEATTLE -- For Ichiro Suzuki, the first day of the rest of his life turned out to be, well, a lot like his previous days in a Mariners uniform.For one thing, Ichiro continues wearing the Mariners uniform. His new role as a special advisor didn't land him in a business
SEATTLE -- For Ichiro Suzuki, the first day of the rest of his life turned out to be, well, a lot like his previous days in a Mariners uniform.
For one thing, Ichiro continues wearing the Mariners uniform. His new role as a special advisor didn't land him in a business suit in the front office. Instead, he will continue to hit and interact and work out before games with his former teammates. He still has the same locker in the clubhouse and the same routine.
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The only difference was at the start of Thursday's game -- his first in his new role -- when he headed to the workout room adjacent to the indoor batting cages behind the Mariners' dugout and watched his team beat the A's on television.
Due to Major League rules limiting the number of non-playing staff in the dugout, he won't be on the bench any more during games.
"Obviously that's a big difference," Ichiro said Friday through interpreter Allen Turner. "I worked out and hit and did all the things I'd normally do. But the funny thing is, I probably worked out more than I did the two days before [combined]. I got in a lot more work. So from yesterday's experience, I think I can say I probably won't be 240 pounds when Spring Training comes around."
Ichiro said the experience really wasn't that much different from recent years, when he wasn't starting games regularly and would spend the first three innings in the dugout, then go back in the cages and begin preparing.
"If my locker was now with the coaches or in a different location or I had to wear something else during practice, if things are going to change, people might think there's a big difference," he said. "But I'm hoping to keep it the same, just how it's been. Hopefully that's how it'll continue to go."
How much impact did Ichiro have on the club in his first day as an advisor?
"Very impactful," manager Scott Servais said with a smile. "We're 1-0."
Ohtani will carry the torch now
Ichiro missed out on the chance to play against new Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, but talked with the Angels' 23-year-old phenom on the field prior to Friday's series opener with the Angels.
The two have gotten together once every offseason in Japan for dinner over the last three years, but Ichiro was disappointed to not be on the bench to see his countryman play.
"I was very excited to watch him play for the first time in person," Ichiro said. "I can't be in the dugout, so maybe today is the day I pull a Bobby Valentine [and put on glasses and a fake mustache]."
The 44-year-old Ichiro has been amazed by the youngster in many ways.
"You see some players -- [Hisashi] Iwakuma is one, [Yu] Darvish is another, they're pretty big guys. But this guy is just huge," Ichiro said. "You see that new generation of players coming up and maybe he's a leader of the pack in that trend.
"He's very pure, you can't help but like him. Because he can do it all and is such a good guy, maybe some people don't like him because of that. But it's hard to find something not to like about him."
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Though Ichiro was a trendsetter as the first significant Japanese position players in the Major Leagues, he sees Ohtani as even more of a pioneer because of his dual roles as pitcher and hitter.
"I can't even compare myself to him because he's doing something that isn't going to impact just Japan or here, I think people in the whole world are interested in how he's going to do because he's doing both," he said. "To have somebody have that kind of impact and excitement, he's going to impact a lot of people. It's a big difference. He's doing both."
• Mariners reliever Dan Altavilla played light catch Friday for the first time since being shut down four days earlier with a strained shoulder and likely will throw a bullpen session Sunday or Monday. Servais said the young right-hander probably needs an inning or two in a Minor League rehab stint before coming off the 10-day disabled list, which means he likely won't return until the next homestand.
• Veteran right-hander Iwakuma, who was shut down from throwing last week after feeling soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder, is feeling better and will throw a bullpen Saturday in Peoria, Ariz., then begin progressing toward throwing live batting practice.
• Reliever Nick Rumbelow, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with a nerve issue in his neck, has begun a throwing program at the team's Arizona facility, though he'll need to build up his arm strength over the next month or so before beginning a Minor League rehab stint.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB