Ichiro Suzuki Says He Wants to Play Until 'At Least 50' and Return to Marlins

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2017

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins on deck before pinch hitting during the sixth inning of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on September 28, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Miami Marlins via Getty Images)
Rob Foldy/Miami Marlins/Getty Images

Ichiro Suzuki reiterated Friday that he would like to play in MLB through his 50th birthday.

According to ESPN.com, the 43-year-old told reporters he has his sights set on playing to "at least 50" and that he would prefer to return to the Miami Marlins next season.

It's the same sentiment Ichiro expressed in March.

"I'm not joking when I say it," he said then, according to the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer.

Ichiro's not the everyday outfielder he once was, as evidenced by his career-low 212 plate appearances this season, but he has remained effective as a situational hitter.

According to ESPN.com, Ichiro—who's batting .259 in 2017—needs one more pinch hit to tie the single-season MLB record of 28 set by John Vander Wal in 1995.

And while he's been limited to 50 hits this season, Ichiro has made history by steadily climbing MLB's all-time hits list and passing Hall of Famers Ricky Henderson and Craig Biggio.

Now 22nd all time with 3,080 hits, Ichiro also eclipsed Rod Carew for the most MLB hits by any player born outside the United States.

Looking ahead, the 17-year veteran may have to convince incoming Marlins CEO and former teammate Derek Jeter he's worthy of a roster spot as the franchise undergoes wholesale changes.

But with an affordable $2 million team option for 2018, Ichiro can make a compelling case regarding his future in South Florida.

"There's no reason not to be back," he said. "It's definitely a place I would want to be."