Ichiro prank

Ichiro Suzuki has been a pinnacle of health during his career in Major League Baseball, logging at least 700 plate appearances in 10 of his first 11 seasons in the majors before transitioning into more of a part-time role. Now entering his third season with the Miami Marlins, Suzuki has seemingly embraced his role as a fourth outfielder and veteran mentor.

During a Spring Training drill on Tuesday morning in Marlins camp, Ichiro collided with fellow outfielder Brandon Barnes, bruising his knee and tweaking his back in the incident. He later revealed it was the first time he had ever required any treatment for an injury during his MLB career.

“This was the first time going into a trainer’s room for me, so that was a little different,” Suzuki said afterward. “The only time I’ve gone into a trainer’s room was to grab a band-aid. So today was the longest I’ve been in the training room in my whole career.”

Suzuki, whose only stint on the disabled list was due to a bleeding ulcer in 2009, said he expects to miss a few days of training and that the discomfort in his back is of greater concern than the knee.

Ichiro and his Marlins teammates proceeded to prank Barnes after the collision, leaving a note in his locker informing him that he was cut and wishing him good luck in Korea.

For his part, Barnes was apologetic to the Japanese legend afterwards.

“It’s not the way you want to do things, especially your fifth day of camp,” said Barnes, a non-roster invitee who is new to the Marlins organization. “That guy’s a legend. He’s been around so long. It’s tough to be the guy that sends him to the training room for the first time.”

When it turned out that Ichiro wasn’t seriously injured, his Marlins teammates had plenty of fun ribbing Ichiro in the training room, in addition to giving Barnes a hard time in the clubhouse.

It was such a historic moment that the trainers saved the sterile glove as a souvenir. Teammates began popping in to take pictures. Prado said even the steam machine used to treat Suzuki was set aside for preservation, never to be used again.

“It all goes to Cooperstown,” Prado joked.

Once it became clear that the injury was not serious, Marlins players went to work on Barnes, giving him a hard time, but in the spirit of fun.

“Nobody messes with Ichiro,” Prado said. “Not even (manager Don) Mattingly. So now he (Barnes) has to be aware of ninjas around. He just can’t go outside by himself.”

I won’t lie – even though it’s just Spring Training, I really missed baseball.

[Miami Herald]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.