Suzuki closing in on contract extension with Mariners


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Ichiro Suzuki is closing in on a contract extension with the Seattle Mariners.

“We’re still talking but we’re not at the point where we have anything to announce,” Suzuki’s agent, Tony Attanasio, said Tuesday.

Suzuki, who was set to start in center field and bat leadoff for the American League in Tuesday night’s All-Star game, would not say when a deal might be reached. The Mariners had no comment.

“Whatever happens, everybody will know in the future, whenever that might be,” Suzuki said through an interpreter before batting practice. “Maybe three hours from now, maybe after the season. I’m done for today (on the topic).”

The Seattle Times reported on its Web site Tuesday that the extension could pay the two-time AL batting champion and 2001 AL MVP close to $100 million over five years.

Suzuki is in the final year of a $41 million, four-year contract. He said during spring training that he planned to test his value on the free agent market this winter.

But he has since changed his stance in recent weeks, certainly in part because the Mariners are playing well. They put together a strong and surprising first half, entering the All-Star break with a 49-36 record and just 21/2 games back of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.

Suzuki is hitting .359 with 61 runs, 128 hits, 39 RBIs, and 23 stolen bases in 25 attempts.


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum and Associated Press Writer Tim Booth contributed to this story.

AP-ES-07-10-07 1851EDT