One of the coolest things we have witnessed in spring training is the new friendship between two prominent names: Ichiro Suzuki and Julio Rodriguez. It’s probably not something you would have expected to come out of Mariners spring training, but it surely has caught my attention.
Ichiro doesn’t need an introduction, or at least I hope not. And then we have Julio Rodriguez who has caught the attention of the entire MLB, not just the Seattle fan base.
Ichiro and Julio Rodriguez during batting practice
Ichiro is currently a Special Assistant to the Chairman and is practically a coach at Spring Training just like Hisashi Iwakuma, and Dan Wilson. Not only is he a resource to current Mariners players, but Ichiro is also one of the better batting practice throwers.
You know why? He prepared for Spring Training. Isn’t that awesome?! Not much of a surprise though, if you think about who he is.
Several days ago, reports in Arizona shared their videos of J-Rod and Ichiro and they are just so funny. Check out this video below from Jen Mueller.
And then Ryan Divish shared a video where Julio tells Ichiro “don’t throw it there.” Just think about that for a second… A 20-year-old told one of the greatest baseball players of all time not to throw it there. Now that’s funny, and it’s a promising sign of a great friendship in the making.
The importance of Ichiro to Julio Rodriguez and other Mariners prospects
It’s easy for us to just say “this is so funny,” “this is great,” “blah blah blah,” but this type of relationship is so important. I can’t put into words how crucial this is.
The Seattle Mariners are so young and veteran mentorship is paramount for future success. The Mariners just don’t have a huge veteran presence outside of Kyle Seager so it is very nice to have guys like Ichiro, Hisashi Iwakuma, Dan Wilson, and even Franklin Gutierrez at Spring camp.
More specifically, the former #51 is a defensive wizard. His 10 Gold Glove Awards speak for themselves and I am sure he will be sharing his defensive tips with the young wave of outfielders including Julio, Jarred Kelenic, Kyle Lewis, Jake Fraley, and Taylor Trammell.
On top of that, Franklin Gutierrez, the one-time Gold Glove winner is also in Arizona helping out the young guys. This is a golden opportunity for the Mariners outfield to say the least.
Follow Sodo Mojo on Twitter here.