SHANNON DRAYER

All reports good for Mariners’ Ichiro after getting hit in head by pitch

Mar 23, 2018, 3:51 PM | Updated: 3:57 pm
Ichiro had his day cut short in a Mariners minor league spring training game. (AP)...
Ichiro had his day cut short in a Mariners minor league spring training game. (AP)
(AP)

PEORIA, Ariz. – Ichiro’s day on the minor league field did not go as planned.

In an attempt to get more at bats while taking it easy on his strained calf, Ichiro has been getting at bats in some Mariners minor league games, where he can hit as often as he likes and doesn’t have to run hard. Those are the advantages. The disadvantage is facing minor league pitchers who do not have the control that a major leaguer has.

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Ichiro was hit in the back of the head/neck area by a curveball thrown by Texas Rangers minor league pitcher and Tacoma native Brandon Mann. Ichiro dropped to the ground and was down for about a minute as teammates and trainers gathered around him. He then got up and left the field with trainers.

The official word from the club is that Ichiro was seen by doctors at the training complex and came out OK. He will be re-assessed again Saturday to determine his game availability.

Ichiro was in good spirits when we saw him afterwards. Shortly after he was seen by the doctors, I encountered him in the hallway where he assured me he was fine.

“No problema,” he said.

In the clubhouse he joked with teammates as they came in from the game.

Before he came out of the game, Ichiro had a nice at-bat that ended in a double. It possibly could have been a triple had it been a regular season game and he was running hard.

At-bats are important for Ichiro, who is still looking to make up for his late start to spring training. The original hope was he would be able to play in the Mariners’ Cactus League game against the Cubs on Saturday, but those plans could change depending on how he feels in the morning.

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All reports good for Mariners’ Ichiro after getting hit in head by pitch