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04/06/09 7:11 PM ET
Ichiro set for blood test on Wednesday
Seattle still hopeful he will return from bleeding ulcer on 15th
By Jim Street / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- A blood test that Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki will have on Wednesday morning in Arizona will determine the next step on his road to recovery from a bleeding ulcer that put him on the disabled list for the first time in his career. "He's doing real well and will have a blood test at 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Monday prior to the Mariners' regular-season opener against the Twins here. "We'll know something by the middle of the day and make some decisions on what we're going to do." The test results would be an indicator of how the medication is working and allow the organization to accelerate his daily activities. The Mariners remain optimistic that their eight-time All-Star will be able to return to action on April 15 against the Angels at Safeco Field, the first day he is eligible to come off the DL. "He's feeling good right now and he's getting anxious," Zduriencik said. "But the biggest concern for us is we want to make sure he slows down. We know how much he wants to continue to work and move forward, but it's important that he understands that he has to take it easy." Ichiro told a Japanese reporter on Sunday that he wanted to play in some games, preferably in Arizona, before rejoining the Mariners in Oakland at the end of this week. "We are going to do what's best according to what the doctors say is best," Zduriencik said. "At the end of the day, what is right for this young man, according to the doctors, is what we are going to do." If the blood test shows that Ichiro can begin full-scale workouts, he could either play in some simulated games in Arizona or join one of the Mariners' Minor League clubs. The Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers open the regular season on Wednesday in Sacramento, Calif. It is conceivable that he could play two or three games there, join the Mariners on Saturday or Sunday in Oakland and accompany the team back to Seattle. The Mariners are off next Monday and have their home opener the next day against the Angels. "What's important is his health next Wednesday," Zduriencik said.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.