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Ichiro, 45, joins M's; may open in Japan

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo, File)

SEATTLE (AP) Ichiro Suzuki has agreed to a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, paving the way for the 45-year-old to play in Seattle's season-opening series in Japan.

Suzuki's agent, John Boggs, confirmed the agreement on Wednesday. He said Suzuki's deal would become a major league contract if he's added to Seattle's expanded roster for the two games the Mariners will play against Oakland in March in Tokyo.

Suzuki started last season playing for the Mariners but transitioned into a front-office role as a "special assistant to the chairman" that allowed him to take part in pregame workouts and batting practice but did not allow him to be in the dugout during games.

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