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SEATTLE CONTEMPLATES REMOVING ICHIRO SUZUKI FROM THE LEADOFF SPOT
Tue, 31 Jan 2012 09:04 AM EST

Right fielder Ichiro Suzuki might start his last assured season with the Seattle Mariners somewhere other than the leadoff spot that he is locked down for the past ten years. Football odds

Seattle chief Eric Wedge said in the Mariners’ pre-spring training luncheon that he’s leaning toward moving Suzuki away of the leadoff spot as a way to try to reinforce the Mariners’ anemic offense.

Wedge does not believe that is a light on Suzuki’s ability to keep on being a leadoff hitter, even with the 10-time All-Star coming off the worst season of his career. Football spreads

“It’s as much to do with his squad as it has to do with him with regard to the collective nine that we are putting down on acceptance,” Wedge related. “I haven’t made any firm calls. I made it extremely obvious over the winter I was pondering it. I’m even further down the line to where I’m leaning that way to have (Suzuki) hit somewhere else.”

Moving Suzuki out of the leadoff spot was part of an on-again, off-again discussion in the 2011 season as Suzuki struggled. He hit just .272, didn’t reach two hundred hits for the 1st time in his career – ending with 184 – and had an on-base percentage 40 points below his previous career worst.

Suzuki, who turned 38 in October, is approaching the final year of a deal which will pay him $17 million in 2012 and will definitely be in a lineup that’ll be extremely young when Seattle opens the regular season on March 28 against Oakland in Suzuki’s native Japan.

“I know it’s a significant score to everybody. I can not get wrapped up in that. My job is to make certain I speak that to Ichiro, make sure everyone recognizes precisely what the options are and what they’re fighting for and what I’m considering and that’s what I am going to continue to do,” Wedge expounded. “Right now I’m going to be terribly wide open minded to what we’re going to do but I’m going to head into spring training leaning a certain direction and we’ll make the final decisions then.”

If Wedge makes the change, he said that he was considering young prospect Dustin Ackley, Franklin Gutierrez and even Chone Figgins as practical backups in the leadoff position. Ackley would seem the likeliest following his debut last year. He played in 90 games, hit .273 with an on-base percentage of .348 and walked 40 times. Wedge think about Suzuki a likely option to bat 2nd or 3rd.

“At last it’s not just in relation to Ichiro, it’s about our club and his twenty-four other teammates,” Wedge claimed. “And Ichiro realizes that and I damn confident recognize that. So what we’re going to do is make sure we put out the best lineup feasible to score more runs. It’s unsuitable the amount of runs we’ve scored the last couple of years.”


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