Fit as ever, Ichiro arrives at Mariners camp

Fit as ever, Ichiro arrives at Mariners camp
Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (Sept. 2010 file photo)
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki arrived at Seattle Mariners camp, looking almost as youthful as has in his previous 10 seasons with the team.

The 37-year-old star outfielder played catch, practiced hitting the cutoff man at second base with throws from right field and got in a few swings in the batting cage. He hit line drives and a few long home runs — aided by wind gusts blowing out to right field — then talked about his team and his long career.

"You have to adapt to your body every year," Suzuki said through translator Antony Suzuki. "I don't remember what happened last year, that's how I operate."

Considering Seattle went 61-101 last season, he's not the only one who is trying to forget it.

"Once you get the flow going and once you do the right thing, good things will happen," Suzuki said. "It's not going to be easy."

Suzuki, who played nine years in Japan before coming to Seattle in 2001, doesn't seem to be thinking about retiring anytime soon.

"It doesn't feel like I've played too long yet," he said. "It feels like I'm being myself. Maybe I can say that I've come halfway there, to where I want to be."

Suzuki heard from his new manager, Eric Wedge, in a pre-workout speech Saturday, and said Wedge is a person with a strong heart who will "come right after you, which is what this team needs."

Wedge has long been impressed with Suzuki, a 10-time All-Star.

"The two things that stick out with Ichiro for me are just the level of preparation he maintains and has from a day-to-day basis, and I think you have to look at the routine he keeps himself in which enables him to be consistent with this work, with his mindset," Wedge said.

It seemed like Suzuki was up "seven or eight times a game," Wedge said of his past experience managing against the star player.

Designated hitter Jack Cust sat at his locker across from Suzuki and had his jeans rolled up midway over his calves, the way Suzuki was wearing his pants.

That drew a good laugh from the fashion-conscious star.

"Every first spring training day is always a good day," Suzuki said. "We have new teammates, you get to meet your old teammates, new faces it's a new start and you have a lot of hope."

NOTES: Wedge spent Saturday watching his pitchers get in their final bullpen sessions away from the rest of the team, including starters Felix Hernandez and Erik Bedard. The Mariners got their work in despite heavy winds, and were finished just before it began raining Wedge didn't bring up last season's 61-101 performance in his first major speech to the players. IF Chone Figgins said Wedge's tone wasn't too loud or too soft. Figgins said such opening speeches can set the tone for a season if players take the words to heart. "He's just reiterating and making sure guys understand what type of team you are to win ballgames," Figgins said.