The Chone Figgins experiment last 24 games, and manager Eric Wedge was asked a familiar question today – how long will Ichiro remain the Seattle Mariners No. 3 hitter?
“Obviously it’s something you have to consider. But you’ve got to have a solution to it, too,” Wedge said.
“I’m always considering almost everything. I weigh everything out. I look at our options, the timing, I try to stay consistent with my thought process on all our guys.
“But the fact of the matter is you have to open yourself up to what you feel ultimately is best for the ballclub and best for the player.”
In other words, Wedge didn’t say he would move Ichiro, who has played every game his season and batted third in each.
A year ago, Ichiro batted a career-low .272 and now, in the final year of his contract, has hit .271 in a team-high 207 at-bats. He has one home run and 16 RBI, tied for fourth on the club.
“It’s a matter of giving him as much time as I feel like we need to give him,” Wedge said. “And also, you have to take into consideration who is going to be your three-hole hitter, who is going to hit fourth. All that enters into it.”
Ichiro is not a classic No. 3 hitter, but at .271 his batting average is the highest on the team. With runners in scoring position, however, Ichiro is batting .157.