In his third Cactus League appearance Monday night at the Peoria Sports Complex, 22-year-old White Sox prospect Dylan Cease got a chance to face 44-year-old legend Ichiro Suzuki.

Weird, eh?

“I wouldn’t say weird,” he said of the close encounter with Mariners star. “It was definitely really cool. It was something I was thinking about before the game. When he was in the box, I didn’t really think about it. It’s something I’ll look back on and probably cherish.

“He’s a great player and I grew up rooting for him, so it’s really cool to face him.”

Suzuki grounded out against Cease, who dominated in a three-inning stint against the Mariners, throwing mostly two-seam fastballs averaging from 96-98 mph.

“I felt good with my fastball, and it was one of those where if I can get outs with my fastball I don’t have to throw off-speed,” he said. “I still feel confident with it. Whatever I have to throw, I feel good about it.”

Cease, acquired along with Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs in the Jose Quintana deal last July, went 0-8 with a 3.89 ERA in nine starts at Class A Kannapolis, with 52 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.

The Sox ignored the record and gave him an invite to camp, knowing it could pay off in the long run. He’s thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Cactus League with nine strikeouts.

Cease may not get another Cactus League start, but at least will leave on a good note. With two weeks remaining, manager Rick Renteria has to start getting his opening rotation stretched out enough for the start of the season.

Cease understands he’s only here for a brief look, and likely will start out in Class A at Winston-Salem.

“It’s definitely been a really big confidence boost just to see that I can come in, be with these guys,” he said. “It’s fun to see how everyone works and what it takes to be up there … I’ll be leaving the camp feeling good about what I have to work on to keep progressing.”

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