SEATTLE (AP) — Roughly three hours before first pitch on Thursday night, Ichiro Suzuki jogged to join his Seattle Mariners teammates in the outfield, fully in uniform, black mitt in hand, prepping for another pregame routine of catching fly balls and hitting in the cage.

Except there was no game for the 44-year-old Suzuki to get ready for. He wouldn't be in the lineup on this night, or again in the 2018 season. And maybe his career.

Suzuki's career transitioned Thursday when the Mariners announced he was shifting into a front office role as a special assistant to the chairman. The job isn't sitting behind a desk but rather more of what Suzuki has done every day of his 18 seasons in the majors. He'll still be in the clubhouse. He'll still go through pregame workouts and preparations and take part in batting practice.

When the game begins, Suzuki will be required to leave the bench and will take his spot in the clubhouse. He's a player-coach, except without the player part for the rest of the 2018 season.

Manager Scott Servais said Suzuki's role will morph over time, but he expects Suzuki to have a hand in helping with outfield defense, base running and hitting.

It's a unique circumstance for a unique player.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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