Ichiro Returns To Amatuer Baseball

Ichiro returns to amatuer baseball

Former US Major League outfielder Ichiro Suzuki showed off his pitching and batting skills in his first amateur game after retiring as a professional player.

Suzuki and his team played a high school faculty team on Sunday in the city of Kobe in western Japan, the home ground of his former Japan team, the Orix Buffaloes.

He formed an amateur team with friends after his retirement in March.

Suzuki, who was a pitcher in his high school years, returned to that position in Sunday's game. His powerful fastballs overwhelmed opposing batters.

In the fourth inning, as his fans cheered him on, Suzuki displayed his skills as a fast base runner, making it to third when the first baseman failed to catch the ball that he hit.

In all, Suzuki got three hits from four at-bats and drove in one run. As a pitcher, he struck out 16 batters and shut out the high school teachers' team.

After the game, Suzuki told reporters that his shoulder and elbow were fine, although his calves were tight. He said he had a great time and wants to play again next year.