Wedge: Ichiro's relatives appear safe in Japan

Wedge: Ichiro's relatives appear safe in Japan

Wedge: Ichiro's relatives appear safe in Japan
PEORIA, Ariz. -- After working out Friday morning with his Mariners teammates, Ichiro Suzuki sat at his locker in the team's practice facility staring at a television showing the devastation from Thursday night's huge earthquake and tsunami in his homeland of Japan.

Ichiro, starting his 11th season with the Mariners, declined to speak with reporters about the situation, saying, through interpreter Anthony Suzuki, he didn't have enough information at the time and had been unable to contact his family due to the power outages and phone difficulties.

But Mariners manager Eric Wedge said following Friday's 5-5 tie with the Indians that it appears Ichiro's relatives were safe.

"I just asked him and Anthony how they were doing and if everything was all right," Wedge said. "By all accounts in talking to them, they felt like the people they are close to are OK, at least the people they could get hold of. Obviously, with 4 million homes without electricity and everything else going on over there, it's just a horrible tragedy. It's a sad situation."

Ichiro, who grew up in Kobe, Japan, said earlier he has not been able to contact his family or ascertain their situation.

"We don't know yet, because cell phones and power are down. There are 4 million homes without power in Tokyo," Ichiro said through Suzuki, who is unrelated. "I have not got hold of my family yet."

Ichiro didn't travel with the team to its road game against the Indians in Goodyear, but only because Wedge had already decided to give many of his regulars the day off.

Suzuki said his own wife is currently traveling in Japan, but she is OK.

Hide Sueyoshi, the Mariners' director of Minor League and International Administration, is a native of Osaka, Japan.

"I've talked to my mother and friends in Tokyo," Sueyoshi said. "I tried to reach my friend in the Sendai area who works for the Rakuten Eagles [professional baseball team], but I could not reach him at all. The phone lines are just too busy, so I hope they are OK."

Sueyoshi said he went through a big earthquake while living in Osaka in 1995, while Ichiro was still in Kobe.

"I experienced that earthquake, so anytime it happens it's tough for me to see," Sueyoshi said. "I just hope all the people are OK. I know it's a lot of confusion."

Sueyoshi said the Eagles are in Spring Training in the area of the quake.

"They have started exhibition games though, so I don't know where they are," he said. "They were playing yesterday, but I could not reach them. The phones are just too busy."

Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln issued a statement on behalf of the club's ownership regarding the quake. The club is owned by Nintendo, the Japanese-based video game corporation that also has its U.S. headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

"The Mariners would like to join with people from around the world in extending our sympathy to the many families affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami centered in Sendai," Lincoln said.

"The Mariners and the city of Seattle have a long and close relationship with the people of Japan. Particularly close to all of us here at the Mariners are the many Nintendo employees and their families in Kyoto, Tokyo and other parts of Japan and the many, many Mariners fans all across the country. Our thoughts and best wishes are with the families as they face this great challenge."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.