TOYOYAMA, Japan (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki, who became a free agent in November when the Miami Marlins declined their option to sign him for the 2018 season, still hasn’t given up hope of remaining in Major League Baseball.
Suzuki was quoted by Kyodo news agency on Dec. 23 as saying: “I feel like a big dog at a pet shop that hasn’t been sold. Of course, I want to play baseball next year.’’
Suzuki, who has 3,080 hits in MLB, was in his hometown of Toyoyama to attend the closing ceremony of the Ichiro Cup youth baseball tournament.
He was asked if there was any possibility of him returning to play in Japan if he isn’t offered an MLB contract.
“When you use the word possibility, there are many things … it means anything is possible as long as it’s not zero.’’ Suzuki said.
The 44-year-old Suzuki has said he wants to play until he’s 50.
He played nine seasons with the Orix Blue Wave in the Nippon Professional Baseball league in Japan before moving to the U.S. to play 12 years with the Seattle Mariners. He also played with the New York Yankees before moving to the Marlins in 2015.