MLB notes: Welcome overwhelms Ichiro

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (C) celebrates with teammates to win their American League season...

Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki (C) celebrates with teammates to win their American League season opening MLB baseball game against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo March 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Toru Hanai)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

At age 38, Ichiro Suzuki has enjoyed and endured many highs and lows, but the emotion he felt Wednesday in Tokyo was one of a kind.

I've never been that nervous before," the outfielder said after getting four hits to spark the Seattle Mariners to a 3-1 win over the Oakland A's in the opening game of the season.

"The warmth of the fans almost made me want to cry.

"I felt the significance of the occasion. I knew it would only happen once in my life. I wanted to share a special moment and give something back to them."

Suzuki said he felt proud to return to his native Japan in his Mariners uniform.

"Even Oakland's players were raving about the incredible atmosphere," he said. "To get four hits and a win in Japan is obviously very special.

"I don't enjoy the pressure but I know it's something I have to live with ... my nerves were really off the scale."

Reliever Tom Wilhelmson was credited with the win as Seattle scored twice in the 11th inning.

ZUMAYA RELEASED

The Minnesota Twins released Joel Zumaya on Wednesday, officially clearing him from the team's 40-man roster.

The right-hander injured his right elbow during training camp and is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery this week.

Zumaya will get jut $400,000 of the $850,000 deal he signed with the Twins, while the team will pay for his elbow surgery.

Zumaya, 27, arrived with a bang in 2006 as a Detroit Tigers reliever, posting a 1.94 earned-run average in 83 1/3 innings. But he missed 96 games (wrist, finger) in 2007; 72 games (shoulder) in 2008; and 41 games (shoulder) in 2009. He hasn't pitched in a regular-season game since fracturing his right elbow June 28, 2010.

MORE DREAD FOR REDS

The Cincinnati Reds bullpen is getting beaten up even before the season begins.

Setup man Nick Masset will start the season on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder, the team announced Wednesday. Five days ago, the Reds announced that closer Ryan Madson would have season-ending elbow surgery.

The Reds have auditioned free-agent left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez as a potential option to fill a hole in the bullpen. The 33-year-old had a 2-2 record with a 4.39 ERA in 2011 with the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.

BRIEFLY

Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has earned the opening-day start April 6 for the Houston Astros against the Colorado Rockies. Rodriguez, 33, had a 3.49 ERA in 30 starts last season for the Astros ... Reports out of New York said the Yankees had signed designated hitter Jack Cust to a minor-league deal. Cust, 32, was released Tuesday by the Houston Astros after going 1-for-25 at spring training ... Boston Red Sox right-hander Chris Carpenter, 26, will have surgery Thursday to have a bone spur removed from his pitching elbow. The Sox got Carpenter from Chicago as compensation for the Cubs hiring former Boston GM Theo Epstein ... MLB has an interest in attracting Europeans to baseball, but finding a venue to showcase the game is a problem. The London Olympic Stadium could solve that dilemma when it is downsized after the Games, a baseball official said.


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