PEORIA, Ariz. — Ichiro Suzuki went 0 for 4 the day Felix Hernandez made his debut for the Seattle Mariners in 2005. But that is not how Hernandez remembers it. To him, Suzuki might as well have batted 1.000.
“Every time he came up to the plate was a hit,” Hernandez said by his locker on Tuesday at the Peoria Sports Complex. “It was exciting. He could do a lot of things on the field.”
Suzuki, 44, will soon return officially to the Mariners’ clubhouse, where he already has a locker stall, a stack of mail and his old No. 51 jersey waiting for him. On Wednesday, the Mariners announced a one-year contract with Suzuki, a former American League most valuable player.
About 10 miles down Bell Road, at the Texas Rangers’ complex in Surprise, another former superstar has also found a home. Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner for the San Francisco Giants, worked out with the Rangers on Tuesday after agreeing to a contract.
The one-year, $1 million deal became official Wednesday after the Rangers got the results of a physical exam. They plan to use Lincecum, 33, as a reliever, but they do not know exactly what they have.