Yankees Rumors: Ichiro Suzuki Hopes to Return to New York

Although he’s drawn “a lot of interest” from other teams, free agent outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is waiting to see if the New York Yankees want to bring him back before deciding where he’s going to play next season, reports George A. King III of The New York Post.

“They are going after pitching first which is what the Yankees normally do,’’ Tony Attanasio, Ichiro’s well-respected agent, said yesterday. “There has been a lot of interest [from teams], but he enjoyed playing for the Yankees so much it’s hard for him to say no to the Yankees. His preference is to stay there instead of going someplace else, but we will wait and see.’’

At this point, the Yankees are focused on signing left-hander Andy Pettitte and closer Mariano Rivera for 2013. With those question marks remaining, the team has put its outfield void on the back burner.

It’s basically a given that free agent outfielder Nick Swisher isn’t returning, leaving the Yankees in need of a right fielder. Suzuki is an option, but the team has also been tied to Scott Hairston and King notes that they’re not against bringing back Raul Ibanez.

After struggling over the first half of the 2012 season with the Seattle Mariners, Suzuki played well following his trade to the Yankees. The 39-year-old hit .322/.340/.454 with 13 doubles, one triple and five home runs over 227 at-bats with New York.

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