SEATTLE -- Perhaps the most surprising thing about Monday’s acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners, other than the trade itself, was the ease with which Ichiro accepted moving into the bottom third of the Yankee lineup.
This is a man who spent a decade-plus leading off for the Mariners and who needed to be consulted about being moved to third, then second because of his ranking in the Seattle hierarchy.
But moving to eighth? No problem. That’s what happens when he is just one of the stars and not the main man all on his own.
"He was great about it," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think he’s excited to be here."
New York Yankees
That’s just one of the differences between a wannabe team like Seattle and a genuine winner like New York. To be with a team that has a chance to win, egos take a back seat to common sense.
The same goes for Ichiro playing left field, which he will do when Nick Swisher comes back. Left field in Yankee Stadium begs for a player with great range to play there, and Ichiro brings it.
"Right now he’s playing right," Girardi said. "When it’s time (for him to play in left field), I’ll just throw him out there. I think the best experience is to just go out there."
Driving force: After a long home run and a double Monday, Alex Rodriguez said that for the last 10 days or so he’s started to feel better.
Girardi is starting to feel better about A-Rod, too, based on what he’s seen.
"He’s driving the ball now," Girardi said. "There aren’t a lot of balls that fly out of this park."
Although it was the homer that generated the most buzz, it was the double, a shot off the wall in right-center, that started the decisive three-run fourth-inning rally.
Surgery for Gardner: Girardi said that outfielder Brett Gardner, as expected, underwent surgery to correct issues in his right elbow.
"They took out some tissue," the manager said. "I think they had to take out a little bone spur, too."
There is no timetable yet for Gardner’s return, which is one of the reasons the Yankees made the deal Monday for Ichiro. As a contact hitter and a base stealing threat, the former Mariner brings some of the same qualities to the New York lineup that Gardner did.
Joba lets fly: Right-hander Joba Chamberlain, on the disabled list as he recovers from an MCL injury and a right ankle dislocation, was due to throw on Tuesday.
The Yankees are encouraged by his progress, but they are mostly looking forward to seeing him in person.
Chamberlain will join the club on the upcoming homestand and will throw a bullpen session for Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and some of the front office staff.
Seeing him throwing a bullpen session isn’t the same as seeing him throw in a game, but it’s a first step.