Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Ichiro Suzuki will bat third this season, with Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley the likely Nos. 1 and 2 hitters, respectively, in Seattle’s lineup.
Wedge made the announcement on Tuesday after talking to all of the players involved.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about it this winter and talked with the coaches and [general manager] Jack [Zduriencik] and everyone. Bottom line is for us to have the best lineup, one through nine out there. I want our lineup to be extended. I feel our best opportunity to score runs is with Ichiro batting third. It helps the guy in front of him, the guy behind him and it helps him.
“When you look at what we have coming back this year and trying to be deeper, one through nine, and giving ourselves the greatest opportunity to score runs, that’s why I’m going to bat him third. Everybody in there wants to win—Ichiro as much as anybody. They all want us to put together the best lineup we can to score the most runs possible.”
...Ichiro has been working on a new, more open stance throughout the offseason, but he said hitting third won’t change his general approach at the plate.
“The situation of hitting third won’t change my approach in my hitting style,” he said. “It’ll only change the situation with runners on base.”