The Seattle Mariners have traded Ichiro Suzuki to the New York Yankees in exchange for two players and cash on Monday afternoon. Then, Monday evening, Ichiro took his first turn at-bat with his new team in Safeco Field.
Ichiro received a long standing ovation, and bowed to the appreciative crowd. He batted 8th for the Yankees, hitting a single, and then stealing a base in the third inning.
"When I imagined taking off a Mariner uniform I was overcome with sadness," Ichiro said through an interpreter. "It has made this a very difficult decision to make."
The Mariners acquired 25-year-old right-handed pitchers D.J. Mitchelland Danny Farquhar from New York. Both players will report to AAA Tacoma. Mitchell has pitched as a starter and Farquhar as a reliever.
Ichiro "quietly" asked the team for a trade a couple weeks ago, said Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln.
At a press conference, Ichiro expressed his gratitute to Mariner fans, and the Mariner organization.
"The fans were a big foundation for me," he said. "It is hard for me to concisely express my feelings when I think about the last 11 and 1/2 years."
"I know that I speak for all of Ichiro’s fans, both here in the Pacific Northwest, around this country and also throughout Japan, in wishing him and his wife Yumiko the very best as he continues his baseball career with the Yankees.”
Ichiro has spent nearly a dozen seasons in Seattle, beginning with his debut in 2001. He was named to the American League All Star team in each of his first 10 years, and won a Gold Glove each of those seasons as well.
He hit .322 as a Mariner, with 99 home runs and 438 steals over nearly 12 seasons. In 2004, he set the single-season record for hits with 262.