From the article:
Ichiro says he cannot carry a conversation in Spanish, which he has gradually picked up during his years in baseball. But, contrary to his stoic image, he feels compelled to engage Latin players.
"I feel a bond with them," he said. "We're all foreigners in a strange land. We've come over here and had to cope with some of the same trials and tribulations. When I throw a little Spanish out at them, they really seem to appreciate it and it seems to strengthen that bond. And besides, we don't really have curse words in Japanese, so I like the fact that the Western languages allow me to say things that I otherwise can't."
Ichiro isn't signed past this season but hasn't announced his retirement. With the injury to Carlos Beltran, he's ended up playing a lot more than the Yankees probably anticipated, with over 300 plate appearances. He's hitting .283, although it's a pretty empty .283 with just 10 extra-base hits.
I'm sure Ichiro would love to hang on to get 3,000 career hits in the U.S. majors -- he's at 2,825, with 83 so far this season. He would need at least two more seasons similar to this one of part-time duty and I'm not sure many teams would want to give him that role, especially at the $6.5 million he's making with the Yankees. His value is pretty minimal; he's a fourth outfielder at best, a guy with no power and average-ish defense these days. He has a played a few games in center, so that helps as a backup, but you probably don't want to play him them except in spot duty.
He turns 41 in October, so it's possible he's scrambling for work next year. Let's hope he gets it. If only so we can mic him up and hear some of that trash-talking.