Citing the possibility of “emergency situations” for Team Japan at the World Baseball Classic, manager Tatsunori Hara watched earlier this week as Ichiro skipped batting practice and took the mound instead.

In his workout on the 7th, [Ichiro] skipped batting practice and worked out as a pitcher. He threw 56 pitches off the mound at Skymark Stadium, throwing fastballs and forkballs. Word is that he hit 147kmph (92mph) with his fastest pitch. Ichiro said he wants to throw a little bit harder.

Sanspo has a series of photos of his work out: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Hara isn™t used to managing games that go beyond 12 innings, which might explain the idea of using Ichiro as a pitcher. Still, Ichiro would probably be the most credible pitching candidate among the fielders in this year™s WBC. However far-fetched it might be, we might see Ichiro pitch in a competitive game this year.

Over at Mariners Blog, Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik summed up the unexpected spectacle with its momentous and extraordinary potential in a single, breathless quote:

“He isn’t going to pitch.”