Yankees prefer Ichiro to patrol left field

Yankees prefer Ichiro to patrol left field

SEATTLE -- The Yankees would prefer to have Ichiro Suzuki patrolling Yankee Stadium's large left field rather than move Nick Swisher to a new position, Yankees manager Joe Girardi explained on Tuesday.

After being acquired from the Mariners on Monday, Ichiro was told that the plan is for him to be playing mostly left field once Swisher returns from a strained hip flexor, an assignment Ichiro accepted.

"I think with the way our ballpark is, it just makes sense to put him in left and keep Swish in right," Girardi said.

Ichiro has played left field just once in his big league career, in Game 5 of the 2001 American League Championship Series against the Yankees, but Girardi said he doesn't expect the transition to be difficult.

"We're just going to throw him out there," Girardi said. "He's athletic enough. I know it's been a long time since he's done it, but the best experience he's going to get is just going out there. I'm sure the days he's playing left field, he'll take his [batting practice] work out there."

Ichiro batted eighth in New York's lineup for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, marking the second time he has hit lower than third in a Major League lineup. Girardi said Ichiro has been fine with the idea of hitting lower in the order.

"It's something that he understood in coming over here," Girardi said. "I don't think this was his only choice, so by coming over here, I think that he accepted it and he just wants to play."