Ichiro wins All-Star Game MVP

Jul 11, 2007 - 5:35 AM SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Ichiro Suzuki showed the Seattle Mariners they made the right choice.

On Tuesday, the Seattle Times reported the seven-time All-Star outfielder, whose contract was set to expire after the season, was about to sign a five-year contract extension to remain with the team.

Later that night, the seven-time All-Star went 3-for-3 with the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star Game history as the American League topped the National League, 5-4.

When asked after the game how many home runs the Japanese superstar could hit if he wanted, Suzuki paused.

"If I could hit .220, I could hit about 40, but nobody wants that," Suzuki said through his interpreter.

When another reporter followed asking if Suzuki was committed long term to the Mariners, Suzuki smiled and said without hesitation, "You'll find out sometime."

According to the report, indications are the deal will approach $100 million and could be announced Friday.

Suzuki, whose four-year, $41 million contract ends after this season, is batting .359 with 128 hits and 23 stolen bases.

The Kobe, Japan native hinted that he was going to test free agency after this season due to Seattle's struggles during three consecutive straight losing seasons

But the Mariners are currently 49-36 and only 2 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League West at the All-Star break, and Suzuki indicated to the Seattle Times on Monday that the attitude around the team had changed.

In 2001, Suzuki became the first Japanese-born every day position player in the major leagues and won MVP and Rookie of the Year honors after accumulating 242 hits and leading the A.L. with a .350 batting average and 56 stolen bases.

Suzuki's best season was 2004 when had 262 hits to set the major league record.






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