With fresh legs as DH, Ichiro gets 30th steal

With fresh legs as DH, Ichiro gets 30th steal

With fresh legs as DH, Ichiro gets 30th steal
ARLINGTON -- Ichiro Suzuki started Wednesday's game against the Rangers in a rather unfamiliar position, serving as the Mariners' designated hitter in manager Eric Wedge's attempt to keep his legs fresh over the final two months of the season.

Wedge's move seemed to pay immediate dividends. Ichiro singled softly to center to lead off the game, then stole his 30th base of the season. Ichiro is now the 16th player in Major League history to reach the 30-steal milestone in 10 seasons.

Wedge has used the 37-year-old at DH more often lately -- three times in the past seven games.

"I talked to him the other day -- I want to try to keep him as fresh as we can as we work down the stretch," Wedge said. "If we can DH him once or twice a week, I don't think it's a bad thing. His lower half is such a big part of what he does, whether it be at home plate or on the bases or in the outfield. As we get in the middle of August through the end of the season, if we can help him stay that much more fresh ... I think it makes sense."

In 115 games, Ichiro has played right field 108 times and at DH only seven. He had never served as DH more than six times in a season prior to Tuesday, and he has only filled that spot 33 times in his 11-year Major League career.