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RUMOR: Ichiro may retire THIS WEEK

This is unconfirmed. To my knowledge, this remains informed speculation on the part of Root Sports' Brad Adam, based on a text exchange he had with Ichiro. But the scuttlebutt is that Ichiro may call it a career after this week's homestand.

The 44-year-old future Hall of Famer has struggled this season, batting just .220 in very limited action thus far. To my mind, he hasn't gotten a fair shake with the vocal minority of sports fans calling for him to go; 40 at-bats isn't much to go on, and he had no spring training to speak of. Besides, he's Ichiro. I realize pro sports is very much a world of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, but the negativity aimed at Ichiro the last couple of weeks is unfortunate, to say the least.

I certainly hope that if he does choose to retire that a) it really is his choice, not something management is pushing on him, and b) that it is because of how he feels about his ability to perform on the field and has nothing to do with the media and fan perception of him being some kind of obstacle on the roster.

Yeah, I'm a fan. And I want the M's to win. And I do not think Ichiro is an obstacle to winning, certainly not more of an obstacle than shorting your bench to carry 13 pitchers. But if the man truly feels that it's time to hang 'em up, I respect that.

We'll see. But regardless, if you want to see Ichiro in person again, maybe buy some tickets to this week's games.

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