Mariners’ Ichiro Suzuki Open To Possibility Of Not Batting Leadoff
Ichiro Suzuki has been the Seattle Mariners’ leadoff hitter for nearly every single game of the last 11 seasons, but he now says he’s open to a change. Ichiro would be willing to bat second or third in Eric Wedge’s lineup instead, he tells MLB.com.
“It’s too early,” Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “We just went through our first workout. But I can say this. I’m always prepared for a new challenge, and that’s how we all have to move forward. If that’s the case, we’re just out there to perform as baseball players and go all out.”
Ichiro continues to boast blazing speed into his late 30s — at age 37 last season, he stole 40 bases in 47 attempts. His on-base percentage dipped to .310, however, his career low by far.
Wedge has pondered making a change and inserting either Chone Figgins or Dustin Ackley at the top of the lineup card, but he said today that he hasn’t discussed the possibility with Ichiro just yet.
“I haven’t had that discussion with him,” Wedge said. “As you know, I had multiple discussions with him this winter, as well as with other people. I’ll have further discussions here early on in spring training, and when it’s time to let you guys know what I’m thinking and what we’re planning on doing, we’ll get it out to you.”