First No Longer: Seattle Mariners Move Ichiro Suzuki out of Leadoff Spot

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First No Longer: Seattle Mariners Move Ichiro Suzuki out of Leadoff Spot
Brandon Wade/Getty Images
Ichiro will now have to get used to hitting in the number three spot, after his numbers have fallen off hitting in the lead.

For Seattle Mariners fans, it's something that isn't even a question.  Leading off the game for Seattle will be Ichiro.  

Until the 2012 season.

Seattle manager Eric Wedge seems confident in his decision making, according to KOMO News in Seattle.

"I've done a lot of thinking about it this winter.  Bottom line, it's for us to have the best lineup one through nine out there," Wedge said.  "I want our lineup to be extended.  I think our best opportunity is for Ichiro to be hitting third for us."

This will be the first time in Ichiro's 11-year career that he will be hitting regularly in a spot other than the the top of the order.

Who is in line to possibly replace him?  Apparently Wedge has thought about this as well, with the new man being Chone Figgins.

"I'm confident Figgins can get back to his old self as a leadoff hitter," Wedge said.  "That's when he was the Figgins that produced, that got on base, that scored runs, that was a pain for opposing teams when he did lead off for Anaheim."

Figgins has extensive experience as a leadoff man, as that was his primary role while with the Angels.  His .363 on base percentage during that time made Wedge's decision a little easier to make.

The new Ichiro batting project will begin with the Mariners' first spring training game against Manny Ramirez and the Oakland A's on Saturday, March 3.

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