SEATTLE - One of the most successful Mariners in the history of the team is now a New York Yankee.
Ichiro Suzuki was traded Monday in an exchange that sent minor league pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, as well as cash considerations, to the Mariners.
"First, I would like to express my gratitude to the fans," Ichiro said through his translator, during a Monday afternoon news conference.
Ichiro appeared emotional while reading a prepared statement, and teared up and declined to answer the last question posed to him about what he'll miss the most about his time in Seattle.
Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said Ichiro approached the team and asked to be traded several weeks ago, seattlepi.com first reported.
"Several weeks ago, Ichiro Suzuki, through his long time agent, Tony Attanasio, approached Chuck Armstrong and me to ask that the Mariners consider trading him. Ichiro knows that the club is building for the future, and he felt that what was best for the team was to be traded to another club and give our younger players an opportunity to develop," Lincoln's statement read, in part.
The Mariners opened a three-game homestand against the Yankees on Monday night, where fans got their first look at Ichiro wearing a Yankees uniform.
Ichiro was given No. 31 because the number he wore his entire career with the Mariners, No. 51, has not been worn by a Yankee since four-time World Series champion Bernie Williams last played.
As Ichiro stepped up to bat for the first time as a Yankee, Seattle Mariners fans gave him an extended standing ovation. He removed his helmet and deliberatley bowed twice to the crowd before hitting a single and stealing second base.
Just like that, Ichiro went from last place in the AL West to first in the AL East. And he helped New York beat his former club by going 1 for 4 with his 16th stolen base.
Mitchell and Farquhar, meanwhile, are expected to report to AAA Tacoma, the Mariners said.
Ichiro leaves the Mariners as the team's all-time leader in five categories: batting average, triples, at-bats, hits and stolen bases.