SEATTLE -- Most of Ichiro Suzuki's big league career has been spent leading off, but the Yankees plan to have their new outfielder batting in the bottom third of the lineup.
Ichiro was in New York's lineup batting eighth and playing right field on Monday, hours after being traded by the Mariners to the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi said he believes that will continue to be the case.
"Our lineup has been pretty set. That's where we decided to put him," Girardi said. "Obviously our hope is that he plays like he's played his whole career and is a great player for us."
Girardi said that he wanted to discuss the lineup with Ichiro before making anything public, and said that the 38-year-old star was fine with the assignment.
Ichiro had never started a Major League game batting any lower than third, but Girardi said that he would prefer to keep Derek Jeter as the leadoff hitter instead.
"[Ichiro is] OK. He's on board with it," Girardi said. "He's here, he wants an opportunity to win and we're excited to have him."
Girardi said that he will play Ichiro in left field when Nick Swisher returns from a strained hip flexor, and doesn't anticipate that Ichiro will struggle to be a plus defender in the outfield.
"You would think with his athleticism and his experience, it'll make up for that," Girardi said. "It might be a little bit of an adjustment period, but I don't expect it to be too long."
Jeter expresses admiration for new teammate
SEATTLE -- Derek Jeter said that Ichiro Suzuki has been a player he has admired from afar for years, and he's excited for the chance to share a clubhouse as Yankees teammates.
"He's done some great things in the 11 1/2 years he's been in the league," Jeter said. "Offensively, defensively, on the bases; there are a lot of different ways he can beat you. He's been as consistent as any player for a long time now."
Jeter said that he respects Ichiro's string of 10 seasons with 200 hits or more, and the admiration of those hitting skills seems to be mutual.
"He's a guy who's not only been able to perform for a long time, but consistently perform for a long time," Ichiro said. "To be able to do what he's done in there makes me see that he's exceptional -- not just potential-wise as a talent, but also as a human being."
Jeter said that he has gotten to know Ichiro a little bit over the years, especially when they have been joined as teammates on the American League All-Star squad, and noted that Ichiro's English has improved.
"He's got a fun personality," Jeter said. I've always enjoyed speaking with him, whether it's at the All-Star Game or second base. I don't know him well, but from what I've gotten to know, I've enjoyed our conversations throughout the years."
Ichiro fills need with Gardner sidelined
SEATTLE -- General manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees weren't in the marketplace to trade for an outfielder, believing the price tags would be too high, but that changed when Ichiro Suzuki made himself available.
With the Yankees expecting Brett Gardner to be lost for the season, Cashman said he made phone calls to seek outfield help but didn't like the landscape. Ichiro's request to be dealt by the Mariners seemed to solve the issue.
"He's an athletic contact outfielder, a lot like what we lost," Cashman said. "He's someone who obviously played with massive exposure, which will help with his transition over here. Once we lost Gardy, this is something that we started to focus on; how can we kind of replace what we lost? That's where this led us."
Cashman said that the initial conversations took place between Mariners president Chuck Armstrong and Yankees president Randy Levine, who then kicked the negotiating down to Cashman and Mariners counterpart Jack Zduriencik.
"My discussions led me a lot of different ways, but the price tags in those discussions didn't match up with us," Cashman said. "Randy Levine approached me during the conversations that he had with Chuck Armstrong that there might be an opportunity here to pursue. We started focusing on that."
Cashman said that despite Ichiro's struggles this season, the Yankees believe he can help their team's pursuit of a World Series title.
"We believe that this is a player that is an asset that can certainly assist this team in its efforts," Cashman said. "We wouldn't have pursued it and concluded it if we didn't think that."
Nick Swisher's strained hip flexor is progressing, though Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he still expects Swisher to rest during the entire Seattle series. He is expected to play on Friday against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
Joba Chamberlain is on schedule to make his fifth Minor League rehabilitation appearance on Tuesday, pitching for Class A Tampa. It is possible that Chamberlain could rejoin the Yankees before Aug. 1.
On this date in 1957, Mickey Mantle hit for the cycle in a 10-6 win over the White Sox, becoming the eighth different Yankee to accomplish the feat.