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Ichiro shaken but uninjured in car accident

Ichiro shaken but uninjured in car accident play video for Ichiro shaken but uninjured in car accident

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ichiro Suzuki said that he feels "very grateful" to have avoided injury after his sport utility vehicle was totaled in a three-car wreck on Saturday afternoon.

The accident occurred about three miles from George M. Steinbrenner Field. Ichiro was traveling southbound on Dale Mabry Highway around 4 p.m. ET when his vehicle struck another driver who was attempting to make a left turn across traffic onto West Kennedy Boulevard.

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Ichiro said that the point of impact was to the front driver's side of his vehicle and that his air bags deployed in the crash.

"The car was turning left and turned into me," Ichiro said through his interpreter, Allen Turner. "I slammed on the brakes and couldn't do anything about it, but I had the green light."

The driver of the car that hit Ichiro's Land Rover was cited for failure to yield and made contact with another vehicle before coming to a stop, according to the Tampa Police Department. Ichiro said that no one was injured in the accident.

"I realized that air bags actually do exist," Ichiro said. "Obviously, I've never seen one before. You can trust the car makers that they do make good air bags and safe cars."

Ichiro had not been scheduled to make Sunday's road trip to play the Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla., and the Yankees have an off-day on Monday. As a result, it is not believed that Ichiro will have to miss any Grapefruit League games.

"I almost want my body to kind of feel like I got hit or something," Ichiro said. "My body just didn't react, I guess. Nothing. I guess you can say that you're going to have to do a lot worse to have me get hurt."

For precautionary reasons, the Yankees recommended that Ichiro be evaluated on Sunday. Ichiro said he would visit the medical staff following his workout at Steinbrenner Field. 

"I'm under the assumption that he'll be able to play Tuesday," manager Joe Girardi said. "We spoke to him last night and he was told to let us know if he had to go to the hospital or was feeling any pain. He never called."

Another outfield injury would have been a devastating hit to the Yankees, who are already preparing to assemble their Opening Day lineup without Curtis Granderson's bat. Granderson fractured his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch in the Yanks' second game of the spring and is not expected to return until May. 

Ichiro's mishap was the second car accident of the Yankees' spring; Minor League pitcher Nick Goody sprained his right ankle last month in a multiple vehicle pileup on Florida's Interstate 4. Goody was sent to Minor League camp on Saturday.

Ichiro said he was alone in his car at the time of the accident. He added that Saturday's wreck was his first automobile accident while behind the wheel, but not his first experience altogether.

"When I was in high school, I was on a bicycle and I got hit by a car," Ichiro said. "Ever since then, I've been really aware and really careful, to the point where I look everywhere.

"As a driver, I'm very careful and very aware of the situation. I'm probably the worst backseat driver, because I see everything and I tell the driver, 'Be careful,' a lot. So I'm a very careful driver."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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