The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Ichiro’s defensive assignment: “I just have to get used to it”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Aug 02, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

In choosing an outfield corner for Ichiro Suzuki, there was logic either way. Ichiro’s speed would play well in left, but he was a Gold Glove winner in right. Nick Swisher had experience in left, but his limited range was better suited for right.

Ultimately, the Yankees chose to trust Ichiro. Even with one game of big league experience in left field, the Yankees decided that would be his position, and they finally put him there yesterday.

“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.”

Ichiro looked good in left yesterday, and if that remains the case, he’ll give the Yankees not only some speed on the bases, but also a definite upgrade defensively. Swisher has become a solid right fielder, but both Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have been limited in Yankee Stadium’s spacious left field. Brett Gardner was supposed to be there, and neither Ibanez nor Jones plays the outfield like Gardner.

“(Ichiro)’s athletic and he’s played a lot of outfield in his life,” Joe Girardi said. “We think he’s going to do a really good job out there.”

By all outward appearances, Ichiro hasn’t been bothered by the move. Girardi said Ichiro was quick to accept his position as the Yankees No. 8 hitter, and he’s seemed perfectly indifferent to switching sides in the outfield. How long will it take him to be perfectly comfortable in left?

“I really don’t know,” he said. “I say that because it’s not just at Yankee Stadium. It’s going to be at other ballparks that I’ve never experienced over there. I really don’t know. I just have to do it.”

Associated Press photo




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