Results tagged ‘ Ichiro Suzuki ’

Ichiro, Yankees making progress toward deal

aug 24 ichiroThe Yankees are making progress toward a new contract with outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, according to multiple published reports.

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reported that Ichiro, 39, and the Yankees are expected to come to an agreement “within the next few days.”

Ichiro’s agent, Tony Attanasio, has said that Ichiro’s first choice was to return to the Yankees, where he batted .322 with five home runs and 27 RBIs in 67 games after being acquired from the Mariners on July 23.

A .323 hitter in the big leagues and the owner of 2,606 Major League hits, plus 1,278 more in Japan, Ichiro was reportedly irked by a lack of attention from the Yankees early in the free agent process when the club was prioritizing starting pitching.

But having signed pitchers Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera for a combined $37 million in one-year deals, the Yankees began to turn their attention to offense at the Winter Meetings and held meetings with Ichiro’s camp, among others.

Ichiro was in the final year of a five-year, $90 million deal when he was acquired by the Yankees, earning $17 million in 2012. The Mariners included cash considerations in the trade for pitchers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar.

If Ichiro returns, the Yankees will have an all left-handed hitting outfield, with Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson in place. Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that if that happens, a right-handed bat in the role that Andruw Jones filled in 2011-12 will become a priority.

The Yankees are also waiting on a response from free agent infielder Kevin Youkilis, who is weighing a one-year, $12 million contract offer from the club.

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.

Ichiro ready to make home Yankees debut

7/27/12: New Yankee Ichiro arrives in the Bronx, and takes time to discuss his interest in and knowledge about the franchise

Ichiro receives a warm Seattle sendoff

Ichiro Suzuki was acknowledged by the crowd at Safeco Field before what may prove to be his final game in the city of Seattle. The Mariners played a brief tribute to the local icon before he led off Wednesday’s game for the Yankees, with the phrase, “Ichiro, thanks for the thrills,” on the scoreboard in center field.

As he did on Monday, Ichiro doffed his batting helmet and bowed to the crowd before stepping in, grounding out to second baseman Dustin Ackley. Ichiro will not travel with the Yankees back to New York on Wednesday, as he’ll remain in Seattle for an extra day to tie up loose ends and figure out how to pack for two months (or more) in the Big Apple.

Ichiro will join his new club in time for Friday’s series opener with the Red Sox, something he said he’s excited about.

“Obviously I’ve only been there on the visitor’s side, but as a visiting player, you get a lot of the fans heckling you a little bit,” Ichiro said. “And I actually kind of enjoyed that. I enjoyed that with the fans. Now that I’m on the home side, I’m not sure what to expect, what the reaction will be like.”

Mariano Rivera: He’s human

mariano 91809.jpgThere are few things in sports today as automatic as seeing Mariano Rivera holding a baseball in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs and nobody on base. Thanks for coming, arrive home safely. Right?

Wrong. Mike Sweeney launched a double that one-hopped the wall in right-center field, eluding the racing grasp of Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki slugged a Rivera cutter into the right field seats to celebrate his second walk-off hit in as many games. Rivera threw two pitches, both were hit very hard, and the Yankees lost.

“I wish I could bring it back and make my pitches, but it’s done,” Rivera said. “I just have to move forward.”

That was typical Mo cool, looking at it in the matter-of-fact viewpoint that can only be obtained by having been there and done it in the biggest spots baseball can present. But Rivera was very forthcoming when asked if this had been the best run of his life, a career-high string of 36 consecutive save opportunities converted until the Mariners celebrated last night.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Rivera said. “I know the numbers maybe show that,
but it would be impossible for me to say that. I’m throwing whatever
I’m throwing right now. Before, I used to throw harder. It’s totally
different. Am I more mature? Yes. But not strong like back then,
meaning velocity.”

Still, Rivera had allowed one run in his last 33 innings of work. That’s nothing to sniff at.

“That’s a pretty incredible feat,” Johnny Damon said. “Hopefully this means he’s not going to give up another run until March.”

Our buddy Steve Lombardi of WasWatching.com chips in with the following stat — Ichiro joins Marco Scutaro, Bill Mueller, and Bill Selby as the only batters to
hit a regular season, bottom of the 9th inning, walk-off homerun off
against Rivera.

Vernon Wells also hit a walk-off homer against Rivera – but it was
in the 11th inning of a tie game. Suzuki, Scutaro, Mueller and Selby
all did it in the ninth, with their team trailing. Suzuki, Scutaro, and Selby all did it after two-outs. Mueller did it after one out. Links to the games can be found here
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