(Reuters) - Ichiro Suzuki got a chance to experience life atop the mound on Sunday when the Miami Marlins let the veteran outfielder pitch
the eighth inning of their season finale against Philadelphia.
Ichiro, who has more than 4,000 combined hits in Japan and the major leagues, surrendered two hits and one run during his one inning on the mound.
“I used to pitch in high school and did pitch in an All Star Game in Japan,” Ichiro told reporters following Miami’s 7-2 defeat. “To be on the mound in the major leagues, you can say one of my dreams came true today.”
The Marlins (71-91) have long been out of playoff contention and Ichiro, who was known for his strong arm in the outfield in his prime, is nearing the end of his career.
Marlins manager Dan Jennings told mlb.com they had been looking to give him the opportunity to pitch for about a month and trailing by four runs in the eighth, he gave him the nod.
“We talked about the situation, it had to be right,” Jennings said. “His last at-bat, he’s on deck. He looks at me, and says, ‘you thinking about it?’ I was, ‘oh yeah, it’s done. You’ve got it.’ He’s earned that.”
The 10-time All Star managed to produce a fast ball, slider and change-up against the five Phillies batters he faced and surrendered two doubles. He did not record a strikeout or walk.
“I think a lot of position players, sometimes say stuff about pitchers, ‘why or you doing this or that?'” Ichiro said.
”I can’t say it was fun but I’ll never talk bad about a pitcher again.
“I’ll never ask to do that again.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury