TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has lost patience with the New York Yankees over a contract extension and has begun talking with other teams, his agent said on Friday.
The Yankees have been busy locking up their principle pitchers, paying Hiroki Kuroda $15 million, Andy Pettitte $12 million and Mariano Rivera $10 million, drawing frustration from Ichiro.
“At the beginning we talked a lot but since that time, zero,” Ichiro’s agent Tony Attanasio told Friday’s New York Post.
“As far as we are concerned we don’t care what the Yankees do. We have had conversations with multiple clubs. If we see something we like he will go through with it.”
Only a week ago Attanasio said the 39-year-old outfielder preferred to stay with the Yankees despite interest from several Major League Baseball teams.
Ichiro, who holds MLB’s single-season hits record with 262, one of several he set at the Seattle Mariners from 2001-12, had become a fan favorite in New York.
During a seven-game streak in August, Ichiro, Japan’s most successful sporting export, batted .526 - going 10 for 19 - and finished .322 for the season in 67 games as a Yankee.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman refused to rule out Ichiro staying.
“Our focus was first on pitching and see the amount of dollars we needed to secure pitching,” said Cashman. “Now we will focus on players who want to talk to us.”
Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by Patrick Johnston