CineSport¬—The Yankees' Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch Tuesday night in Seattle. Rodriguez left the game with a fractured left hand & will be placed on the DL. Manager Joe Girardi spoke about the injury.
With Rodriguez out of the lineup, the Yankees offense as a whole will have to step up. Girardi will look to the recently-acquired Ichiro Suzuki to add something to the organization.
As Ichiro finished his first series in pinstripes, many questioned whether making the move from Seattle to New York would make him a productive player for the Yankees. Did the Yankees acquire a player who has passed his prime and is simply playing out his last days before retirement, or did they catch a deal on what could be an exciting new asset to the ball club?
For ten years, ranging from 2001-2010, Ichiro finished each season with a batting average over .300. His average of .272 last year and this year’s unimpressive .261 indicate that Ichiro’s best days might be behind him.
Leaving Seattle and joining the Yankees could be exactly what Ichiro needs to help him get back on track. There are aspects of playing for his new ball club in New York that may provide a recipe for his immediate (as well as long-term) success.
Ichiro commented on his excitement as he made the switch from playing for the Major League team with the lowest number of wins to being a part of the team with the highest number of wins. Being a part of a team with a winning tradition like the Yankees could definitely serve as motivation as the season continues. The very real possibility of a playoff hunt or even a World Series title that come along with playing in pinstripes may help elevate Ichiro’s game to level we saw him play at in his prime.
Another major difference between playing in Seattle and playing in New York is that for the first time in a long time, Ichiro does not have to be the “biggest” name in the lineup. Being surrounded by players like Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano will take at least some of the spotlight off of him and allow him to play the game with less pressure on him as an individual. Ichiro may succeed on a higher level when given the opportunity to simply be a part of a team rather than the face of a franchise.
The combination of playing for a team that is competitive on a game-to-game and year-to-year basis along with being able to blend in with the rest of a lineup as opposed to always having to be the star could be what Ichiro needs to bounce back. The New York Yankees organization may just be the perfect environment for Ichiro Suzuki to excel in.