Ichiro dropped to second in batting order

Mariners skipper Eric Wedge is shaking things up a little today in his lineup, moving Dustin Ackley up to the leadoff spot and dropping Ichiro to No. 2 in the order.

This will be the first time Ichiro has ever started a game batting second. He has come into games as a pinch hitter and hit second in the order twice in his career, but never begun a game in that position.

What does it mean? We’ll talk to Wedge in a bit, but first blush is he’s trying to get Ackley going again after a tough stretch for the young second baseman during which he’s hit eighth for the last week or so.

And Ichiro could probably use a different approach as well as he’s on an 0-for-20 skid that has dropped him to .258 for the season. Ichiro has only gone hitless for 20-plus at-bats three different times in his 12-year career … and two of those now are in the past five weeks.

Ichiro’s on-base percentage of .286 is way off his career mark of .366 and even last year’s previous low of .310. Ackley, even batting just .235, has a .315 on-base percentage.

Wedge talked after Friday’s loss of pursuing roster changes at the All-Star break if the offense didn’t improve in the final two games here in Oakland, with some struggling players possibly being sent to Tacoma. Obviously there’s limited change that can be made at this point in the midst of the three-game set in Oakland, but the lineup shakeup is one.

Here’s tonight’s full lineup:

Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Michael Saunders CF
John Jaso C
Kyle Seager 3B
Casper Wells LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Carlos Peguero DH
Brendan Ryan SS

Jason Vargas P

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