We knew that a trade for an outfielder was coming before July 31 for the Yankees.
But when Jack Curry of the YES Network broke the news that the Yankees had acquired long-time Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki for two minor leaguers, it was a move that made a buzz around baseball.
The Yankees have acquired Ichiro Suzuki for RHPs DJ Mitchell and Danny Fahrquar, a source said. Yanks also get undisclosed cash in deal.— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) July 23, 2012
With the trade officially made on Monday night, the 38-year-old switched locker rooms and traded in his Mariners home uniform for the gray Yankees road uniform; he was going to bat eighth in the Yankees lineup against his now old team.
Ichiro has a brand new number with the Yankees, donning the No. 31, as opposed to the No. 51 that he wore for over 11 years.
The No. 51 has not been worn by a Yankee player since Bernie Williams back in 2006 and it's likely that the number may end up retired and in Monument Park someday at Yankee Stadium.
Before taking his first at-bat, when he was introduced to the crowd at Seattle, the fans gave their long-time hero a standing ovation, while Ichiro showed his appreciation by tipping his cap and bowing in respect.
In Ichiro's first at-bat in the top of the third inning, Ichiro singled to center field, just like he had done many other times at Safeco Field, but now against Seattle.
With Russell Martin batting, Ichiro took off running and got his first steal of the season for the Yankees, taking second base. He didn't come around to score, so he wasn't able to score his first run for the Yankees.
In the top of the fourth inning, Ichiro hit a weak pop-up to second base with runners on for the second out in the inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, Ichiro hit a smash towards first and Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak made a nice play to dive for the ball and get a speeding Ichiro out at first.
In the top of the ninth inning, Ichiro scorched a line drive, but right at the second baseman.
So in Ichiro's debut for the Yankees, he went 1-for-4 with a stolen base.
The Yankees got seven solid innings out of Hiroki Kuroda as he struck out nine and improved to 10-7 on the season.
The Yankees did most of their damage in the top of the fourth inning, as Mark Teixeira's RBI double made it 1-1.
Raul Ibanez's RBI single gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead and Andruw Jones' RBI single made it 3-1, giving Kuroda enough of a lead to work with.
In the top of the eighth inning, Alex Rodriguez smashed his 15th home run of the season to deep center field, making it 4-1, which is where the game finished.
The Yankees snapped their four-game losing streak after getting swept by Oakland over the weekend and now have momentum going forward in their series with Seattle.
Ichiro looked like he was rejuvenated out on the field for the Yankees and looked like he had renewed purpose. The one thing I really liked from him was that he ran very hard down the line on groundouts, especially in the seventh inning where he almost got an infield single.
With Nick Swisher's injury, Ichiro can play right field for the time being, a position he has played in Seattle for a very long time and is comfortable with.
So far, a good start to the Ichiro era with the Yankees. He'll have a lot of media attention on him going forward, but it looks like he should fit in with the Yankees since he won't have to be the only superstar on the team like he was in Seattle.
If Ichiro can play like this during the second half for the Yankees, racking up hits, getting stolen bases and playing solid defense, then the Yankees and Brian Cashman just may have gotten a steal of a trade.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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