Ichiro and Seattle Mariners finalizing deal

As the crowd cheers former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki now a Marlins right fielder trots toward home plate after hitting a homerun in the ninth inning

Seattle has not played in the postseason since the 2001 rookie season of Ichiro, when he won both the MVP of the American League and the Rookie of the Year leading the Mariners to 116 wins, a league record, during the regular season.

Ichiro is only the sixth player who is 43 years of age or older to have 50 hits or more in a season.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the Seattle Mariners are close to signing a one-year deal with the 44-year-old. He is also the first position player from Japan to sign with a major league club. The report comes on the same day after it was reported that Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel will miss 4-6 weeks with a strained oblique muscle. Right fielder Mitch Haniger has tendinitis in his hand, and reserve outfielder Guillermo Heredia is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

The Mariners could seek a free agent like Jon Jay or Carlos Gonzalez, though would likely offer just a one-year deal. The left fielder joins a list of already ailing Mariner outfielders, with both Mitch Haniger and Guillermo Heredia now sidelined with injuries. Suzuki played his first 11 full seasons in the majors with Seattle before being traded to the New York Yankees midway through the 2012 season.

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Ichiro ranks 22nd with 3,080 career hits but started only 22 games last year and had 196 at-bats, the lowest total of his 17-year career.

Last year, Ichiro hit.255 with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 136 games for the Miami Marlins.

The Mariners will be without their starting left fielder to begin the season.

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