Ichiro ties Bonds for sixth in leadoff homers

Ichiro ties Bonds for sixth in leadoff homers

Ichiro ties Bonds for sixth in leadoff homers
CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge noted on Monday that even among the constant churn in his Mariners lineup, Ichiro Suzuki will remain the leadoff hitter as long as he stays healthy this season.

Ichiro's 35th leadoff homer on Monday moved him into a tie for sixth with Bobby Bonds on the all-time leadoff home run list.

The 37-year-old is now two long balls behind Jimmy Rollins, the only active player ahead of him.

Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader with 81. Behind him is Alfonso Soriano (54), Craig Biggio (53), Brady Anderson (44), Rollins (37) and Ichiro and Bonds at 35.

How far is Ichiro ahead of the pack in regards to franchise history? Joey Cora has the second-most leadoff homers in Mariners history, with five.

As for Ichiro's role this season, Wedge indeed plans to remain consistent with the most consistent player in franchise history, as he attempts a late-season run at an 11th consecutive 200-hit season.

Ichiro is on pace for 181 hits, as his batting average sits at a career-low .269 going into Tuesday's doubleheader.

"I know it's been a fight for him, but he's tried to handle it as best he can," Wedge said. "We're going to continue to give him opportunities at the top of the lineup as we play this out. As long as he's physically able, I think he's earned that."