Ichiro's leadoff assignment a temporary one

Ichiro's leadoff assignment a temporary one

NEW YORK -- Ichiro Suzuki led off for the Yankees on Saturday against the Rays, and manager Joe Girardi said it was a one-day move prompted by Ichiro's career numbers against Tampa Bay starter James Shields.

Ichiro entered the game with a .304 (14-for-46) average in his career against the right-handed Shields, with a double, a triple and a homer. Derek Jeter, who was a .293 (24-for-82) hitter against Shields, slid down to the No. 2 spot in the order.

Girardi said that a desire to split up left-handed hitters in the bottom of the order also factored into the decision, with Ichiro moving from the bottom third of the lineup to the leadoff spot for only the second time since the Yankees acquired him from Seattle on July 23.