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Ichiro to bat in bottom third of Yankees' lineup

Ichiro to bat in bottom third of Yankees' lineup

Ichiro to bat in bottom third of Yankees' lineup
SEATTLE -- Most of Ichiro Suzuki's big league career has been spent leading off, but the Yankees plan to have their new outfielder batting in the bottom third of the lineup.

Ichiro was in New York's lineup batting eighth and playing right field on Monday, hours after being traded by the Mariners to the Yankees, and manager Joe Girardi said he believes that will continue to be the case.

"Our lineup has been pretty set. That's where we decided to put him," Girardi said. "Obviously our hope is that he plays like he's played his whole career and is a great player for us."

Girardi said that he wanted to discuss the lineup with Ichiro before making anything public, and said that the 38-year-old star was fine with the assignment.

Ichiro had never started a Major League game batting any lower than third, but Girardi said that he would prefer to keep Derek Jeter as the leadoff hitter instead.

"[Ichiro is] OK. He's on board with it," Girardi said. "He's here, he wants an opportunity to win and we're excited to have him."

Girardi said that he will play Ichiro in left field when Nick Swisher returns from a strained hip flexor, and doesn't anticipate that Ichiro will struggle to be a plus defender in the outfield.

"You would think with his athleticism and his experience, it'll make up for that," Girardi said. "It might be a little bit of an adjustment period, but I don't expect it to be too long."

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