Report: Mariners close to deal to bring Ichiro back to Seattle

SEATTLE -- Ichiro! Ichiro!

The former Seattle Mariners outfielder may be close to a deal to return to the Emerald City.

ESPN and USA Today are both citing sources who say Ichiro Suzuki, 44, is close to a 1-year deal with the M's.

The news comes as the Mariners learned they'll be without outfielder Ben Gamel for four to six weeks due to a strained right oblique muscle.

The Mariners were hopeful that Gamel would miss only a few days but an MRI revealed a more extensive injury after it was reviewed by team physicians. Gamel first felt the injury after batting practice late last week.

Gamel is added to a growing list of ailments for the Mariners. Seattle has already seen first baseman Ryon Healy (hand), outfielder Mitch Haniger (hand) and pitcher Felix Hernandez (bruised forearm) slowed by injuries during spring training. Outfielder Guillermo Heredia is also still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, leaving Seattle thin at the position.

Ichiro became a free agent after the Miami Marlins declined his option for 2018.

He's said he wants to play until he's 50. He was 27 when he began his MLB career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.