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Suzuki takes Kuroda deep in live batting practice


TAMPA, Fla. -- Right-hander Hiroki Kuroda threw live batting practice Thursday to a group of Yankees outfielders that included fellow Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki.

Toward the end of the batting practice session, Juan Rivera crushed a homer off Kuroda to deep left field. Ichiro followed that up by lining a shot two rows deep into the right-field stands, prompting a roar of cheers from the fans sitting in the George M. Steinbrenner Field bleachers.

Manager Joe Girardi wasn't there to watch Kuroda pitch, but joked afterward, "I heard he threw strikes."

Ichiro took in the crowd's applause, bowing and doffing his helmet and saying, "Thank you." Even Kuroda cracked a smile on the mound.

"They knew it was coming, I heard," Girardi said.

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