The New York Yankees have transformed recent misfortune into a treasure trove.
From virtually nowhere, the Yankees—swept in four games by the Oakland Athletics last weekend—sent two 25-year-old right-handed hurlers to the Mariners in exchange for Ichiro and cash. This, according to ESPN.
Like a kid in a candy store, Ichiro switched from Mariners gear into pinstripes, just a few hours before taking the field at Safeco Field.
It was odd to watch Ichiro emerge from the New York’s locker room not sporting a Mariners uniform.
Come game time, it did not take long for Ichiro to show how he completely changes the dynamic of the Yankees' offensive attack.
After receiving a standing ovation from stunned fans Monday, Ichiro—batting eighth—stepped into the box and delivered a single up the middle. A few pitches later he stole second, his 16th of the season.
While Ichiro went 1-for-4 in the Yankees' 4-1 victory, the Japanese superstar showed signs of great things to come.
"It just changes our lineup when you have a guy who can do the things that he can do," Yankees skipper Joe Girardi told MLB.com writer Brian Hoch.
A true statement indeed. Ichiro brings that patient, efficient, slap-hitting capability the Yanks truly need.
While New York boasts an entire lineup of guys who can hit the long ball at any time, it has missed that scrappy, thwack-singles kind of player since Brett Gardner went down to a season-ending injury.
Now the Yankees have this in this 10-time All-Star. The team also has in this .322 career hitter, a skilled bunter who can steal bases and wreak havoc with his legs.
Ichiro being a left-handed hitter also bodes well for home fans sitting in the right-field seats at Yankees Stadium. With the right-field wall being 314 feet from home plate, Ichiro’s power numbers may climb as a result.
Not to mention Ichiro, a 10-time Gold Glover, has the ability to make great plays in the outfield.
Is Ichiro is the long-term answer in the Big Apple? While the answer to this question is anyone’s guess, one thing is clear.
Ichiro has definitely made the Yankees an even better ball club.
And now the rest of the American League East is on notice.
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