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Ichiro walks off into history before packed Tokyo Dome crowd

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Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki left gestures while leaving the field for defense substitution in the fourth inning of Game 1 of a Major League opening series baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Wednesday Ma

The outfielder returned to the Mariners before the start of the 2018 season, then transitioned last May into a role as the special assistant to the chairman that allowed him to still be with the team and take part in pregame workouts, but meant he could not play in any games. There's also the walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera, the time he beat Randy Johnson to first base in his first All-Star game, and all of his iconic hits: the one that broke the single-season hit record, number 3,000, and number 4,257 to pass Rose as the all-time hit king.

Just three years into his MLB career, Ichiro etched his name into baseball lore in 2004 when he managed to collect a major-league record 262 hits, the last of which came in the final game of the year on October 1st.

Ichiro hit.321 (25 for 78) with 11 runs, five doubles, two triples, two home runs, nine RBIs and three stolen bases in his first spring training with the Mariners in 2001 to earn their starting right field job on Opening Day.

There's nothing like baseball.

One of the most wonderful stats that bookends Ichiro's career.

Suzuki is a living legend, considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever don a uniform - a 10-time All Star in the majors, a 10-time Gold Glove victor, and a 3-time Silver Slugger. Those 4,367 hits are the most ever at the top professional level. He received a hug from another Mariners legend, Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr.

Asked about his tears at Ichiro's celebratory exit, Gordon said, "I was just glad you guys did this for him". Kikuchi could be Japan's next big baseball star, having signed a contact in January that could be worth $109m over seven years.

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He was 0 for 1 with a walk and a popout in the 9-7 win over the A's on Wednesday.

He said his contract was through the two games in Japan, and said he decided before arriving last week to step away.

Kikuchi, who made his major league debut on Thursday, got to play in one game with his idol.

But, of course, if Ichiro could still do that, could still place the ball at his discretion, as his former batting coach, Paul Molitor, was convinced he would do, he wouldn't have been trotting off the emptied field in Tokyo for the final time moments later.

-New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird was scratched from the team's spring training game because of swelling and stiffness in his right elbow, manager Aaron Boone said.

He would go 0-for-4 from the plate, but the bigger story was that he was about to retire in front of his home country. Media outlets had been speculating about whether he will be benched on March 28 at the USA opening game.

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