Ichiro expected back next week

MINNEAPOLIS -- Seattle Mariners star Ichiro Suzuki has been cleared to begin playing in his comeback from a bleeding ulcer that caused severe fatigue.

Suzuki will be the designated hitter in an extended spring training game with minor leaguers in Arizona on Thursday. Manager Don Wakamatsu said before Wednesday's game at Minnesota that Suzuki will play a total of three games before being re-evaluated. He'll either join the Mariners in Oakland this weekend or travel straight to Seattle.

Seattle's leadoff hitter and right fielder remains on track to be activated from the disabled list next Wednesday. Wakamatsu said Suzuki's blood tests came back clear and his condition is improving. This is his first time on the DL since arriving in the majors in 2001.