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Mariners welcome Ichiro to first camp practice

MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ichiro Suzuki made his first appearance in the Mariners' clubhouse and on their practice field prior to Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Giants, drawing considerable attention from teammates and the large throng of Japanese reporters following his every move in familiar fashion.

It was similar to the scene from 17 years earlier, when Ichiro first signed with Seattle, except for the graying hair and the more-established relationships with his Major League peers.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Ichiro Suzuki made his first appearance in the Mariners' clubhouse and on their practice field prior to Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Giants, drawing considerable attention from teammates and the large throng of Japanese reporters following his every move in familiar fashion.

It was similar to the scene from 17 years earlier, when Ichiro first signed with Seattle, except for the graying hair and the more-established relationships with his Major League peers.

Robinson Cano, who played with Ichiro for the Yankees from 2012-13, greeted him with a big hug. Dee Gordon was all smiles upon reuniting with his buddy from their Marlins days.

Gordon, in particular, is pleased to see Ichiro in camp, as he plans to pick his brain about outfield play while making his transition from second base. Gordon threw out a baserunner for the first time in Wednesday's game against the A's, but he says he's still adapting to the footwork and spin required to get the best carry on longer throws.

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"I'm going to work on that more with Ichi here now," Gordon said. "He's going to teach me some things. It's awesome. I'm excited about the opportunity to learn from him on the outfield part of things, for sure. I've always picked his brain every day about something. I think he's used to me bothering him."

Gordon and Ichiro were having fun on the field Thursday, and they clearly have a close relationship. What drew Gordon initially to the Japanese legend?

"He's skinny, and he can hit," Gordon said with a laugh. "We're the same guy."

Video: Dipoto talks Ichiro's impact in Mariners' clubhouse

Ichiro went through a full practice session in his first day on the field and looked as prepared as ever, but manager Scott Servais said he would sit down with the 44-year-old soon to discuss how quickly to put him into games.

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The tentative plan, per Servais, is to have Ichiro go through workouts for four to five days before advancing to Cactus League action. He'll take live batting practice Saturday, when reliever Nick Vincent is slated to throw in a simulated-game situation, and progress toward games likely early next week.

But Ichiro told Japanese reporters after his workout that he was "feeling very comfortable," and he would have been ready to play Thursday night, if Servais asked. Ichiro said it's more likely he'll play Sunday when the Mariners host the Reds in a 1:10 p.m. PT game at Peoria Sports Complex.

Though Ichiro seemed to fit back in seamlessly in his first day back, there is an adjustment period. He admitted things are a little different than when he first came to Peoria as a 27-year-old for his first Major League camp with the Mariners in 2001.

"I'm going to have to learn some names and faces," Ichiro said through interpreter Allen Turner. "I'm a little worried some of these guys are like my children's age, they're like kids. But hopefully I can get right in there with the kids and perform with them."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners, Ichiro Suzuki