Ichiro Suzuki has long been considered one of the better defensive outfielders in the game with a lethal arm. Playing his career in right field at Safeco Field in Seattle he has been able to showcase both his great range and his plus, plus arm on a regular basis.
Now with the Yankees things are changing a bit something, Ichiro says, he’s going to need to get used to.
“Left field being a bigger position, the field is bigger out there, so obviously you can use your range,” Ichiro told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “That kind of brings a little bit of excitement to me, to be able to cover more ground. Obviously ,it’s not right field. If it were right field, and it’s a big stadium, I’m a little more comfortable. I just have to get used to it in the games and just get adjusted.”
I was a little hesitant about Ichiro moving to left field at first. After all, he had never played the position before while Nick Swisher had. Mostly, I didn’t want to see his arm go to waste. The amount of times he can stop a runner going from first to third is what makes him truly lethal out there and moving to left field that would certainly be cut down a bit.
However, Joe Girardi likes him out in left field due to his range and the fact that left field is a much bigger field than right in Yankee Stadium. It makes sense then to utilize his speed in left field.
Then I thought about Brett Gardner. Very similar to Ichiro defensively, Gardner has had the best arm in the Yankees outfield since 2010 and it was something that wasn’t completely wasted. Gardy was able to throw out 19 runners during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, good for 12th in MLB during that span. So obviously left field at Yankee Stadium is deep enough that a solid arm isn’t wasted.
As for Ichiro getting used to left field. The guy is a Hall of Famer and part of that is because of his defense. If anybody can make the move it should be him.