A move out of the leadoff spot appears possible for Ichiro as the Mariners look toward the 2012 season.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge held his scheduled media session at the baseball winter meetings Tuesday and said he’d met with Ichiro twice this offseason to keep him updated on the team’s thinking. Wedge added that he doesn’t want Ichiro to read or hear anything about himself in the media first. That could involve a switch out of the leadoff spot he’s held since 2001.
“I’m still not sure where I’m going to hit him in the order and I want him to understand that,” Wedge said, adding he most recently met with Ichiro a few days ago. “Because ultimately, I’m going to do what I feel like is best for our club.
“I’m going to put out the best nine, in the right order, in the order that I see fit. To score as many runs as we can. And if I feel like that’s him leading off, then that’s what we’re going to do. If I feel like that’s him hitting in the three-hole, that’s what we’re going to do. If I feel like it’s him hitting somewhere else, then that’s what we’re going to do.”
Wedge had suggested at season’s end that a change to the leadoff spot might be coming. But his comments Tuesday at the Hilton Anatole hotel are some of his strongest yet on the subject and something Ichiro apparently agrees with.
“He told me last year in the middle of the season when I was talking to him that he wants to do whatever’s best for the ballclub,” Wedge said. “And he wants me to do whatever I feel is best for the ballclub. And I take him at his word and that’s what I’m going to do. And he’s been tremendous and he’s been communicative with me and I appreciate that.”