Ichiro had bleeding ulcer, will start season on disabled list
Ulcer is no longer bleeding, but Ichiro will start on disabled list for the Mariners and is eligible to play April 15.
Seattle Times staff reporter
LAS VEGAS — Ichiro went on the disabled list Friday for the first time in his Mariners career, but not without a fight.
The 35-year-old outfielder, diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer that has caused extreme fatigue in recent days, pleaded with team officials to remain on the active roster for Monday's season opener against the Twins in Minneapolis.
"He wanted to negotiate," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "We said, 'Ichiro, we have to do what's right for you. We have to do what's right for the ballclub.'
"He's such a competitor. In sitting across from him and discussing this with him, it was so evident he did not want to do this."
But the Mariners decided to shut down their leadoff hitter and put him on a course of medication designed to heal the ulcer, which has already stopped bleeding.
Team physician Mitch Storey said he expects Ichiro to be ready to play April 15, when he is eligible to come off the DL. If so, he will miss eight games.
Ichiro, who will remain for now at the Mariners' camp in Peoria, Ariz., has played in 197 consecutive games and 807 of the Mariners' last 810. He had two stints on the DL in Japan, one for a broken ulna bone in 1999, the other for a strained ribcage in 2000.
"We're trying to let him rest up, because he's been fatigued," Storey said. "We don't want to push him."
Storey said the team learned of Ichiro's stomach problems before the World Baseball Classic, in which he helped Japan to its second straight championship.
"He had been fighting these symptoms for three or four weeks," Storey said. "He'd feel good one day and bad the next.
"I don't think he knew something was really wrong until he got here to spring training and started feeling tired and light-headed."
Storey believes the stress of playing in the WBC may have been a factor. He said stress can cause excess acid, which in turn can cause ulcers. The National Institute of Health Web site says that while stress doesn't cause ulcers, it can make them worse.
The Mariners plan to announce plans to replace Ichiro after today's game, as well as their other roster moves. They're also expected to name their closer.
Manager Don Wakamatsu said Endy Chavez or Franklin Gutierrez will bat leadoff, while Chavez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Wladimir Balentien are candidates for playing time in right field. Wakamatsu indicated Griffey could be in right on opening day in Minnesota.
"He is open to doing anything we want, and he said that from Day 1," Wakamatsu said.
Zduriencik said he didn't expect Ichiro's roster replacement to come from outside the organization. There are four open spots on the 40-man roster, but three are likely earmarked for non-roster players Mike Sweeney, Shawn Kelley and Chris Jakubauskas.
Wakamatsu said of Ichiro, "This is a warrior ... The players on this club obviously know what he was willing to risk. It wasn't something we wanted. It was a tough conversation to tell a man of his stature that he wasn't going to be with the team."
• The Mariners returned infielder Reegie Corona, whom they had selected in the Rule 5 draft in December, to the New York Yankees. They had to keep Corona on their 25-man roster all season or offer him back to the Yankees for half of the $50,000 draft fee.
• On an extremely windy and unseasonably cold night at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, the Mariners lost 6-3 to the Rockies. Reliever Roy Corcoran, who came in with a 14.14 ERA that has endangered his inclusion on the final roster, worked two scoreless innings. Kelley, trying to lock down his own spot in the bullpen, had a rocky inning but fanned two and picked off a runner. Starter Jarrod Washburn gave up 10 hits and five runs in five innings, but it was hard to judge pitching because of the severe conditions.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday's box score
|Fowler cf||4||1||0||0||Chavez lf||3||1||2||0|
|Spilborghs lf||3||1||1||2||Wilson lf||2||0||0||0|
|Smith lf||2||0||0||0||Gutierrez cf||3||1||2||1|
|Helton 1b||3||1||3||1||Beltre 3b||2||0||1||0|
|C.Colonel 1b||2||0||2||0||Crabbe 3b||1||1||0||0|
|Atkins 3b||3||0||2||0||Branyan 1b||3||0||0||1|
|Stewart 3b||2||0||0||0||Burke 2b||1||0||0||0|
|Hawpe rf||3||0||1||1||Sweeney dh||4||0||1||1|
|Ortmeier rf||2||0||0||0||Johnson c||4||0||0||0|
|Tulowitzki ss||3||0||0||0||Balentien rf||4||0||2||0|
|Herrera ss||2||0||1||0||Cedeno 2b||4||0||1||0|
|Iannetta c||2||1||1||0||Woodwrd ss||4||0||0||0|
|Colorado||200 300 010||—||6|
|Seattle||001 020 000||—||3|
|Morales W, 3-3||5||7||3||3||2||3|
|Washburn L, 2-3||5||10||5||5||1||5|
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
Catcher Gregg Zaun retires after 16 seasons