Ichiro Suzuki, 40, Says He Has 'Many' Seasons Left In Him

| by Jonathan Wolfe

The best leadoff man of this generation doesn’t plan on hanging up his cleats anytime soon. Ichiro Suzuki, at the ripe old age of 40-years-old, says he wants to play “many” more seasons after 2014.

“Retirement from baseball is something I haven't even thought about," Suzuki said. 

Though he isn’t close to the player he once was from 2001-2010 when he had 10 consecutive 200+ hit seasons, Ichiro still proved to be a serviceable player for the Yankees last year as a role player. He hit .262 and provided solid defense.

When asked by ESPN how many more seasons he thinks he has in him, Ichiro said “Not just a few. Many. For me, I feel there’s no reason for me to retire right now.”

Ichiro doesn’t figure to receive an extensive amount of playing time for the Yankees this year. With the signing of Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, it looks like Ichiro will be the 5th outfielder for the Bronx Bombers. He’s not letting that affect his approach to the game, though.

“When I first signed here I knew what I was getting into," Ichiro said. “I knew every year there would be changes and things would happen that maybe we can't control. But I can't allow that to affect the way I prepare or go into the season."

Ichiro has 2,742 hits in 12 MLB seasons. During his nine year career in Japan, he racked up an additional 1,278 hits, giving him 4,020 combined hits in his professional career.

Many in the past have wondered why Ichiro, who is known to put on home run clinics in batting practice, tailors his slap-style swing to pick up base hits rather than home runs. He gave an awesome response to that question in 2010.

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me,” he said. “I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

Sources: ESPN, CBS