This was a move everyone knew was coming because Mariners manager Eric Wedge has hinted at it for a while. But Ichiro is sitting out once again tonight, getting the night off in right field while Casper Wells takes his place.
Michael Saunders moves into the leadoff role.
Ichiro’s on-base percentage has tumbled to .282 on the season. It’s been just .206 since he was moved to the leadoff spot back on June 1.
To give you an indication of how poor that leadoff performance has been, Ichiro’s on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .559 (in the leadoff role) is 45 percent below what an average leadoff hitter in baseball has produced this season.
The big question now is whether this is a one-day thing, or could become more regular. Ichiro’s first day off took two months before it was implemented back on May 30. Now, it’s been just over 2 1/2 weeks between sit-downs.
So, we’ll see what happens going forward. The team needs Ichiro to do what he does best. Nobody wants him to be sitting. But he has to do more than continuously chop balls back towards the mound hoping one of them gets by for an infield single.
So, maybe a rest does some good. Continuing to run him out there seven days per week was helping no one.