Ichiro leading off again Saturday, says he feels renewed

Ichiro Suzuki is back at the leadoff spot again Saturday, as expected, as manager Eric Wedge will give his revised lineup some time to see what it can do. Today’s game is at 1:10 p.m. PT.

Ichiro talked after the game Friday night about feeling renewed with his return to the top of the order, which clearly seems his preference after 52 games hitting third this season.

Speaking through interpreter Antony Suzuki, Ichiro indicated he was looking for a spark from his return to the role he’s filled for 1,721 of the 1,786 games he’s started over 12 seasons with Seattle.

“Being back in the leadoff is very comfortable,” he said. “It feels like getting back to my own spot. There was no hesitation. We started the season a couple months ago, but now is like a second start for me. And it’s a refreshing start as well.”

Ichiro is hitting .270 with a .303 on-base percentage, both slightly below last year’s .272 and .310 marks that were the lowest of his career. His slugging percentage of .363 is up from last year’s .335, but both are well below his career  .420 mark.

The only change from Friday’s lineup in the wake of the 7-4 loss is John Jaso at catcher in place of Miguel Olivo. Wedge has stuck to his plan of rotating Jesus Montero, Olivo and Jaso far more since Olivo’s return from the DL. Montero is at DH again today.

Here is the full lineup against White Sox right-hander Gavin Floyd (4-5, 5.02) as the Mariners attempt to halt Chicago’s nine-game winning streak:

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Dustin Ackley 2B
Kyle Seager 3B
Jesus Montero DH
Justin Smoak 1B
John Jaso C
Mike Carp LF
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS

Hector Noesi RHP

1 Comment

Ichiro seems to be waiting for pitches in the strike zone now instead of chasing pitches he can’t reach. Result 2 HRs

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