Baseball: Ichiro impresses in outfield against Giants, will start in MLB opener
Japan Times -- Mar 19
A rush went through the crowd as Ichiro Suzuki settled underneath the ball Shunta Tanaka hit high into air in the third inning.

The fans cheered when the ball nestled into Ichiro’s glove and the volume went way up when he fired an absolute strike from right field to third base.

No matter that Alex Guerrero, who clapped a little himself at second, probably wasn’t running anyway, even on a 45-year-old Ichiro. The fans had been yearning for some glimpse of the old Ichiro and that throw — even without Terrence Long there to be tagged out — was good enough.

There’ll be another blast from the past when the season opens on Wednesday, when Ichiro will be in the starting lineup.

Ichiro, however, went hitless again at the plate on Monday, but home runs by Mitch Haniger and David Freitas pushed the Seattle Mariners ahead late in a 6-5 win over the Yomiuri Giants in the final exhibition between the two teams at Tokyo Dome.

“He’s still in very good shape,” Giants manager Tatsunori Hara said. “He showed that with his throw from the outfield tonight. That reminded us of his true skills.”

Ichiro was again the center of attention throughout the night. The fans urged him on during each at-bat and let out sighs each time he failed to get a hit. He grounded out, struck out looking and flew out to center in his three at-bats.

He’s struggled at the plate during the spring. He arrived in Japan 2-for-25 and went 0-for-6 in two games against Yomiuri.

Mariners manager Scott Servais, however, said Ichiro will be in the lineup against the A’s when the MLB regular season begins on Wednesday at Tokyo Dome.

News source: Japan Times
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