Ichiro tosses 131-pitch complete game, for fun, in Japan

Ichiro Suzuki did plenty over 18-plus major league seasons: He posted 3,089 hits, a .311 batting average, won an MVP award, set the single-season hit record with 262 and was a 10-time all-star.

He also threw 11 strikes in his only pitching performance, a one-inning relief effort for the Miami Marlins in a 7-2 playoff loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 4, 2015.

On Sunday, the 46-year-old Suzuki  — who retired in March — tossed 131 pitches before 80 media members and 35 television cameras in a sandlot-level game against a team of high school teachers in Kobe, Japan.

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"I can still make it work," Suzuki told reporters at Hotto Motto Field Kobe. "No problems at all regarding either my elbow or shoulder."

"It was a blast."

Suzuki went the distance, allowing six hits, striking out 16 and didn't walk a batter.

Not surprisingly, Suzuki excelled at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a walk to lead a group of his local acquaintances, Kobe Chiben, in a 14-0 drubbing of the teachers from high school powerhouse Chiben Wakayama in front of about 3,000 spectators.

Carried burden of entire country upon MLB arrival

Suzuki retired last March, shortly after the Seattle Mariners outfielder waved goodbye at the Tokyo Dome during a 5-4 win over Oakland in 12 innings.

Suzuki, who also played for the New York Yankees, carried the burden of an entire country in coming to the United States, and his success created opportunity for the countless others who have followed.

He preceded Hideki Matsui, who had a stellar career with the Yankees, by two years. In the years since, players like Nori Aoki, Kosuke Fukudome and Kaz Matsui followed. Last year marked the arrival of two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani.

Suzuki smashed the stereotypes that surrounded Japanese hitters.

He swatted away those stigmas with an American League MVP award, 242 hits and a Gold Glove Award in his rookie season after racking up 1,278 over nine years with the Orix BlueWave in Japan. 

He was a catalyst for a Mariners club that won a record-tying 116 games, and he brought a new style to the majors while laying the foundation for others to follow.

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