Ichiro is getting comfortable with the Yankees
The Mariners are in town to open a weekend series with the Yankees tonight, and no one should expect Ichiro Suzuki to look longingly into the visiting dugout. This was the change of scenery he wanted and needed, so Ichiro should be quite happy when he slips on his pinstripes for tonight’s game.
“When I come to the ballpark, it does feel like home now,” Ichiro said on Wednesday. “I haven’t found a place to live yet. I’m just in a hotel, so that might take a little bit. But definitely here, I feel a little bit more at home.”
From personal experience, I’d say good luck with that apartment hunting, Ichiro — although I’d imagine he isn’t looking at many fourth-floor walkups. But forget those midtown penthouses he’s dabbling with; the Yankees are more concerned with how Ichiro adapts to left field.
He made his first appearance there on Wednesday and the Yankees were impressed with the results; outfield coach Rob Thomson gushed that it was “amazing” how quickly Ichiro seemed to pick up the nuances of the position when he wandered out there for the first time during batting practice.
“Left field being a bigger position, the field is bigger out there, so obviously you can use your range,” Ichiro said. “That kind of brings a little bit of excitement to me, to be able to cover more ground. Obviously it’s not right field. If it were right field, and it’s a big stadium, I’m a little more comfortable. I just have to get used to it in the games and just get adjusted.”
The only other time Ichiro had played left field was in Game 5 of the 2001 ALCS, when Mariners manager Lou Piniella wanted to make room for Jay Buhner in right field and shifted Ichiro to left. It didn’t work out: the Yankees beat Seattle, 12-3, to advance to the World Series.