Ichiro Suzuki Out, Yuniesky Betancourt To Bat Leadoff?

Shanan H.Analyst IApril 3, 2009

SEATTLE - APRIL 19: Yuniesky Betancourt #5 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated after his home run against the Minnesota Twins on April 19, 2007 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. The Twins defeated the Mariners 6-5. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Today it was reported that the Seattle Mariner's all-star lead off man, Ichiro Suzuki would be out for 15 days with a bleeding ulcer.  Mariners fans are all hoping he gets better soon, because he is the club's lead-off man.

Now, while a bleeding ulcer sounds painful, and can be deadly if not treated, there are other things to discus, other than the injury.

Who will be the first man to step into the batter's box on Monday?

In the major leagues, there seem only four options:

Franklin Gutierrez

Wladimir Balentien

Jose Lopez

Yuniesky Betancourt

Gutierrez is far from known for his hitting, hence his career .258 average, but he has great defense and okay speed, and could lead off.

Another option would be  Wladimir Balentien, who was called up in place of the injured Ceasr Jimenez.  Balentien has had a pretty good spring, and I like his swing.  He will definitely be an important part of the M's future.

But we aren't talking future, we're talking now.

His previous call-ups proved unsuccessful, and he has a very low average.

So, we move on to Lopez.  A great hitter, but I want to say no, do not make him lead-off.  He is like Dustin Pedroia.  He will suffer in the No. 1 spot.  And I also think he is a great asset to have hitting second.

So, that really leaves the 26-year-old "Yuni," as he's called here out west, and by me because his real name is too long.  He is a career .282 hitter, and has great speed. 

But, there are to things about Yuni that worry me.

1.  He strikes out a lot, and leadoff men cannot rack up Ks.

2.  He is not the smartest base runner.  He was caught stealing 50 percent of the time last year, and it seems that the Mariners have given up stealing bases with him.

Well, the No. 1 spot must be filled.  I have given my opinion, what's yours?

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