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Ichiro Back In the Leadoff Role For Mariners Tonight

The experiment that saw Ichiro batting third for the Mariners appears to be over, at least for one night. Mariners' skipper Eric Wedge has decided that the career leadoff hitter might be better off in his old spot afterall, and after hitting .271 with a .305 OBP over the first 52 of his games, we could be looking at a permanent change. Ichiro - who is known more for getting on base rather than driving in runs - briefly experimented with, then abandoned, a widened batting stance and on the season has only mustered 17 RBI and a .157 batting average with runners in scoring position while batting third.

Taking his place in the three-hole is Kyle Seager, whose bat has been relatively hot of late. Ichiro at the top of the lineup probably makes more sense at this point - he gets an inordinate amount of infield hits and that skill is rarely properly utilized with men on base. Instead of beating out a throw to first with no men on, a dribbler or slow grounder ends up a fielder's choice on throws to second more often than not. Regardless - we'll see if this is a long-term change or just a tweak for the night.

The Mariners batting order looks like this for tonight's matchup with the Whitesox. King Felix Hernandez is on the hill:

Ichiro, RF
Ackley, 2B
Seager, 3B
Montero, DH
Smoak, 1B
Carp, LF
Olivo, C
Saunders, CF
Ryan, SS

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