Miami Marlins veteran Ichiro Suzuki needs only four more hits to reach 3,000 in his career.
With the Marlins back in Miami for a ten-game homestand, the historic moment could come at Marlins Park. While Suzuki sees rare starts, he should still have the chance to reach the number in front of his fans. During the upcoming ten games, Suzuki could make a few starts in addition to pinch-hitting appearances.
There are only 29 men in the 3000 hit club and none of them have reached the number while wearing a Marlins uniform. When the Marlins signed Suzuki, they knew this day would be arriving in the future. The 42-year old has the most hits in professional baseball history, if his Japanese statistics are counted alongside his numbers in Major League Baseball.
Being part of history was an incentive for Miami when it signed Suzuki, but the outfielder has ended up being one of the most productive players on the roster. After a sub-par 2015 season, Suzuki has posted a .343 batting average this season. In 204 plate appearances, the veteran has a .419 on-base percentage and an OPS of .818.
The production from Suzuki has allowed manager Don Mattingly to give his outfielders regular rest. In addition, Suzuki has been Mattingly's top option off the bench on most days. Should Miami reach the postseason, it would be partially due to Suzuki's unexpected contributions.
In the next ten days, the Marlins will take on the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets and Cardinals are involved in playoff battles with the Marlins and both of these series could end up being a deciding factor. Suzuki is most likely going to play during the day games following night contests. This will allow either Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna or Giancarlo Stanton a chance to rest when it is needed most.
Miami will have MLB commissioner Rob Manfred in town on Wednesday and will also play an early game on that day. It is possible Suzuki's historic moment could come with Manfred in attendance. The Marlins are expected to unveil the 2017 All-Star Game logo soon as well, which could be the reason for Manfred's presence.
With a team option valued at $2 million, Suzuki is a near-certainty to return to Miami in 2017 as well.