An emotional Ichiro Suzuki all but begged his general manager and manager to let him play despite ulcers, but Jack Zduriencik said he couldn’t let himself be persuaded.
“This was serious,” GM Zduriencik said. “We had to take the decision out of his hands because he did not want to do this. We put him on the disabled list. He wanted to negotiate.”
On the DL for the first time in his major league career, Ichiro told doctors his stomach had been bothering him since before the World Baseball Classic began last month, and that he had taken medications to ease the pain.
“He was treating the symptoms, so when he got to Arizona and started feeling light-headed and tired, we had a pretty good idea where to start looking,” Dr. Mitch Storey said. “It might have been caused by bacteria, by stress, which produces acid – we don’t know yet, but with the tests we took, we should know Monday.”
Ichiro began a course of medication and rest, limited to a strict schedule of when and for how long he could work out the next few days.
“You’re talking about a warrior, and telling him he wasn’t going to be on this team opening day was emotional for him,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Everyone on this team knows what he was willing to risk to play. We couldn’t let him risk it.”
Ulcers are relatively rare among players – Zduriencik joked that general managers often get them – but Storey said that’s because the condition is often caught early.
“If a player complains of stomach pains, we usually take care of that with medication and it doesn’t go further,” Storey said. “Ichiro played with it, would have one good day, then a bad one, but didn’t stop playing or working.”