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June 1, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Eric Wedge says he wants to put Ichiro in the best position for him to succeed

Mariners manager Eric Wedge met with the media a short while ago and explained the timing behind his decision to move Ichiro out of the No. 3 position in the order and back to his previous leadoff role.
Wedge said he met with Ichiro and told him of the decision before Wednesday night’s game in which the Mariners defeated Texas 21-8.
“I wanted to put him in the best position for him to succeed,” Wedge said. “And I think that, to get him back to leadoff, where he’s had the most experience and been most comfortable, I think that’s the best way to do it. And if we can get him going up top, that’s only going to help the ballclub.”
It’s the same thing Wedge had hoped to do by putting Chone Figgins in the leadoff spot back in spring training. Clearly, he’s hoping this shift leads to better results.
Wedge said Ichiro took the news well. In fact, he was laughing and smiling more than usual pre-game.
I asked Wedge whether he thought Ichiro had changed his hitting style in a noticeable way after moving from leadoff to No. 3. Anything that moving back to the leadoff role might cause him to stop trying to do and maybe boost his numbers a little.
“I didn’t feel like that,” Wedge said. “I felt like he came in, doing some things early in spring training, but I didn’t feel like there was…maybe subtle changes from time to time, but nothing drastic.”

Stephen Pryor is here and eager to get his big league career started. Wedge said he’ll break Pryor in somewhat slowly at first, but there’s no ceiling after that when it comes to using him.
“We’ll just find spots here early on to get him in there and then we’ll go from there,” Wedge said. “I always try to get them in there as quickly as we can, but obviously, I want to do it at a point of time in the game when he can go out there and relax as much as possible and pitch a little bit and kind of get the first one out of the way.
“But, I mean, he has a big arm, so we’ll see. We’re not going to put any limitations on him. We just want to break him in first and kind of go from there.”
Pryor was told of the move Wednesday night when Class AAA manager Daren Brown called him in his hotel room, went up to his room and had a nice chat with him. He had Pryor’s flight information as well.
So, Pryor caught a flight here yesterday.
“It’s real exciting,” he said. “Everybody’s real excited for me. My whole family came out and stuff for this three-game series.”
Most of his family is from Nashville, the rest from Chattanooga, also in his native Tennessee. His wife and two daughters, ages 3 and three months, were living with him in Seattle but flew out here for the games as well.
Pryor has had some command issues in AAA and his slider hasn’t always been as sharp as he’d like.
“I noticed in AAA that hitters were taking more pitches and they weren’t fishing for as many out of the zone,” he said. “They were really looking for a pitch to drive. So, the key for me was to get ahead. As long as I’m not walking people and just pounding the zone, trying to force contact, that was the big thing for me.”
Pryor’s mid-90s fastball can also hit 100 mph. He admits he’ll get away with a few pitches, but realizes the hitters in AAA and more so at the MLB level won’t miss too many mistakes.
“They’re really putting it into my head to work both sides of the plate and keep the ball down around the knees and stuff,” he said.
The lineups:
RF Ichiro
2B Dustin Ackley
3B Kyle Seager
DH Jesus Montero
1B Justin Smoak
LF Mike Carp
C Miguel Olivo
CF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
RHP Felix Hernandez
CF Alejandro De Aza
2B Gordon Beckham
DH Adam Dunn
1B Paul Konerko
RF Alex Rios
C A.J. Pierzynski
LF Dayan Viciedo
SS Alexei Ramirez
3B Orlando Hudson
RHP Jake Peavy

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Jesus Montero


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