Updated Jun 1, 2012 - 7:14 pm
Why leadoff for Ichiro plus news and notes
By Shannon Drayer
Following up on the news of the day, Eric Wedge spoke in the dugout about an hour and a half before the game and here is what he had to say about moving Ichiro back to the leadoff spot.
"I wanted to make that move now, we are a couple of months into the season and I wanted to put him in the best position for him to succeed and I think to get him back to leadoff where he has had the most experience and been the most comfortable, I think that is the best way to do it. If he can get himself going its only going in that spot it to help the rest of the ball club."
Weeks ago Wedge hinted at a move when while discussing the Mariners problems scoring runs he stated matter of factly that Ichiro wasn't a prototypical number 3 hitter. He had asked Ichiro to hit third and told him to define the position for himself. What he saw, and he has alluded to this a couple of times, was that Ichiro really made no major adjustments to hitting third. Ichiro's appeared to be focused on getting back to what he was prior to the 2011 season. It may have been a lot to ask Ichiro to be a three hitter and as such the expectations weren't terribly high and he was given more than ample opportunity to produce there. It will be a different story hitting leadoff.
The words Wedge used today were very similar to those he used when discussing Chone Figgins struggles earlier in the season. Before the last lineup that Figgins was penciled into as the every day leadoff hitter Wedge said that he was in that day because he had numbers against the starter. When Figgins failed to get a hit that day that was the last we saw of him in the every day leadoff spot. When Wedge says that he wants to put Ichiro in the best position to succeed he is saying that he better succeed. He will get some time but I doubt it will be two months if Wedge has other options at leadoff. If Wedge does his part and Ichiro struggles to be more of a prototypical leadoff hitter we will see another move. First however, Wedge will give him the opportunity.
Other notes from today...
Stephen Pryor is here and ready to go. Both Carl Willis and Eric Wedge said that they will try to get him into his first game in a low pressure situation but after that there will be no limitations for him.
I asked Willis what Steve Delabar needed to work on after being sent down and he said that the biggest thing he needed to do was get a third pitch. The slider is that pitch and he has been working on it but it hasn't been quite good enough. They also want him to work on creating better downward plane on his fastball which is what Willis sees as his biggest problem in getting right handers out.
Brendan Ryan was named defensive player of the month for May by ESPN Stats and Information. Ryan had 13 defensive runs saved. He leads all ML shortstops with 16 defensive runs saved and has the highest UZR at 8.2. Ichiro ranked 2nd in the voting with 6 runs saved.
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