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Darvish learned a lot from 'superstar' Ichiro

44-year-old outfielder transitioning to front-office role in Seattle
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

ST. LOUIS -- Yu Darvish says he learned a lot from Ichiro Suzuki, who announced he is switching to working in the Mariners' front office, even though the outfielder didn't give him any one-on-one advice on how to adjust to the Major Leagues.

"He was a superstar when I was growing up, so every time I had a chance to face him, I learned something. So I really appreciated each at-bat," Darvish said through his interpreter on Friday.

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ST. LOUIS -- Yu Darvish says he learned a lot from Ichiro Suzuki, who announced he is switching to working in the Mariners' front office, even though the outfielder didn't give him any one-on-one advice on how to adjust to the Major Leagues.

"He was a superstar when I was growing up, so every time I had a chance to face him, I learned something. So I really appreciated each at-bat," Darvish said through his interpreter on Friday.

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"I didn't get any direct advice from him, but instead I would think to myself, 'I have to do better the next time,' and [think about] what adjustments do I need to make the next time I face Ichiro," Darvish said.

Ichiro did have success against Darvish, going 8-for-24 when the two squared off with the Mariners and Rangers, respectively.

Was Darvish, 31, surprised to hear that Ichiro, 44, was not going to play again this year?

"I was surprised but things do happen, and surprising things happen in [Major League Baseball], so I think this is one of them," Darvish said.

The Cubs pitcher doesn't think Ichiro is done playing.

"It seems he was still training [Thursday] and he's more than capable of still playing," Darvish said. "I hope he keeps playing again."

Maybe they could square off once again?

"I would look forward to facing him again," Darvish said.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, Yu Darvish, Ichiro Suzuki