(Apologies for the lack of sound in the video. We’re still working out the kinks of the movie-making technology).
One of the time-honored rituals of Mariners camp occurred today — the Ichiro Arrival.
As always, he was fashionably late, pulling up at about 3:15 in a black Range Rover, after the rest of his teammates. I shouldn’t say “late,” actually, because position players were not required to show up at any particular time today. If you want to get technical, in fact, they’re not required to show up at all, by union rules, until Feb. 24. Back in the old days, when I was involved in Oakland A’s coverage, Rickey Henderson and Jose Canseco would annually push it right down to the mandatory deadline before making their appearances. In fact, it became a little game between the two, to see who would be last.
Nowadays, however, virtually every player honors the team’s requested reporting date, which was today. The only true item of business on reporting day is to undergo a physical examination, which Ichiro did shortly after his arrival. I didn’t actually see his attire (because I know you’re going to ask), but I’m told it was typically garish.
After the exam, Ichiro did what he usually does on his first day — head out for a workout. First, he and Antony Suzuki — his translator, no relation — played catch for about 10 minutes. Then they went into the batting cage, and Ichiro hit for about 15 minutes — first soft toss, then Antony throwing BP. This means absolutely nothing, but I thought he looked good swinging the bat. Then again, Ichiro always puts on a good show in BP.
There had been some thought that Ichiro would work out today with Munenori Kawasaki, the new Mariners infielder who has made no secret of his affinity for Ichiro. But Kawasaki left after his physical, and Ichiro worked solo.
Tomorrow will be the first full-squad workout, including an address to the team by Eric Wedge in the morning. Ichiro is scheduled to talk to the media in the afternoon, which should be an interesting session in light of the issues surrounding him — a possible move out of the leadoff spot, and the impending end of his contract at the end of the season. Check back in this spot for details.