Results tagged ‘ ichiro suzuki ’
When the Yankees learned in late July of the 2012 regular season that their injured starting outfielder, Brett Gardner was unlikely to return to the active roster before the end of the year, they traded pitchers D. J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners for the aging native of Kasugai, Japan. I liked the deal immediately because I thought New York had missed Gardner’s defense and his run-scoring ability and by adding Suzuki they were actually getting someone who was an even better outfielder and run scorer than Gardner.
From the moment he put on the pinstripes, it has been a pleasure to watch this guy play the game. Unlike most of the high-paid sluggers in this current Yankee lineup, Suzuki is content to take what he is given from opposing pitchers and as a result, he’s a very tough out. What was most surprising to me, however, was his ability to turn on an inside fastball and drive it easily into Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch.
The highpoint of his first year as a Yankee was a five-game mid-September stretch he put together against the Blue Jays and Orioles. He went 14-20 in those games, scoring seven runs, driving in five and New York won them all. Without that five game win streak, the Yankees would have not won the AL East and without Suzuki, there would have been no five game win streak.
He ended up appearing in 67 regular season games for New York in 2012 and hitting .322. For some idiot reason, the Yankees had him batting at the bottom of the order when he first joined the team, because I think he would have scored a lot more runs than the 28 he did manage. After hitting just .217 in the Yankee victory over Baltimore in the ALDS, Suzuki was the only member of New York’s lineup who could hit Detroit pitching in the 2012 ALCS, averaging .353 against the Tigers.
Even though he turns 39-years-old today, New York should make every effort to sign Suzuki for at least the 2013 season and if he insists, the 2014 season as well. He shares his October 22nd birthday with one of his own Yankee teammates.
Today is the 48th birthday of Major League Baseball’s controversial career home run leader and son of a former-Yankee, Barry Bonds. Exactly one year after Bonds came into this world, today’s Pinstripe Birthday celebrant was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Joe Oliver played just 12 games of his 13-year big league career in a Yankee uniform as a backup catcher during the 2001 season. He spent his most productive big league seasons with the Reds and started behind the plate for Lou Piniella’s 1990 World Champion Cincinnati team. He caught 1,033 games in thirteen big league seasons. He hit the last of his 102 big league home runs in a Yankee uniform against the great Greg Maddux. No other member of the Yankee family was born on this date.
Will Yankee Fans Go Kookie for Suzuki?
Ichiro Suzuki became a Yankee yesterday (July 23, 2012.) That move caused me to stay awake until early this morning so I could watch the Wizard from Japan play his first game in pinstripes against his former Seattle teammates. He laced a hit up the middle in his first-ever Yankee at bat, with one-out in the third inning and then stole second, where he was stranded. Suzuki was hitless in his last three at bats, though he hit the ball on the screws in two of them but came up empty. Thanks to Ichiro’s countryman, Hiroki Kuroda, the Bombers broke their four-game losing streak by beating the Mariners, 4-1.
I admit to being shocked when I received a fan message from Yankees.com announcing the deal, yesterday. I never imagined Cashman would go after him. The question of course is how will the transaction work out for New York? My guess is it can’t hurt them. Yes, the Yanks gave up two decent pitching prospects in DJ Mitchell and Danny Farquhar, but neither is considered can’t-miss-type-hurlers. In return, they received an aging living legend, in the final year of his contract, who can still hit, run and throw at a better-than-average big league level. With Brett Gardner probably out for the year, Suzuki will assure the Yankee offense or defense doesn’t miss him and if the move rejuvenates Ichiro’s game, watch out postseason. By the way, Suzuki shares Robinson Cano’s October 22nd birthday.