Suzuki Can’t Scratch His “Ich” in the WBC
Japan WBC manager Tatsunori Hara has ignited the speculatory fires by suggesting that using Ichiro in emergency pitching situations is a possibility in this year’s tournament. In his workout on February 7th, he skipped batting practice and worked out as a pitcher. He threw 56 pitches off the mound at Skymark Stadium, throwing fastballs and forkballs. Word is that he hit 147kmph (92mph) with his fastest pitch.
However, yesterday it became known that Ichiro Suzuki will not be pitching for defending champion Japan in next month’s World Baseball Classic, even in an emergency situation.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik told the Seattle Times that while Ichiro “looked like he was having fun out there”, he was firm that the standout defender and hitter would not add to his resume.
“He’s not going to pitch,” Zduriencik said.
The Japanese team will open the tournament at home in the Tokyo Dome on March 5 in an Asian bracket that also includes China, South Korea and Taiwan.
For those of you who want your Ichiro pitching fix, here he is in the 1996 NPB All-Star game making a relief appearance.[youtube hoOnzwJOAFM]