Ichiro given first day off of season in Texas

Ichiro given first day off of season in Texas

Ichiro given first day off of season in Texas
ARLINGTON -- Ichiro Suzuki received a rare day off Wednesday, with manager Eric Wedge resting his 38-year-old right fielder for the first time this season for the series finale with the Rangers.

Ichiro had started 150 consecutive games, dating back to June 11, when he snapped a 255-game streak by sitting out his only game of 2011.

Wedge is taking advantage of Thursday's off-day to give Ichiro a two-day break. He is the only Mariners player who played in each of the team's first 51 games this year.

Wedge said Ichiro would play on Friday when the team resumes action in Chicago, but stopped short of saying he'd return to the same No. 3 spot in the lineup that he's held since the start of Spring Training this year.

"He'll be back in the lineup," Wedge said. "I haven't made the lineup up yet."

Kyle Seager moved into the No. 3 spot on Wednesday, with Chone Figgins getting the start in right field.

The move wasn't a surprise to Ichiro, who told Japanese reporters on Tuesday night that he wasn't going to play Wednesday. Wedge informed him of that plan after Monday's game.

Ichiro is leading the Mariners with a .271 batting average this season, but has just a .367 slugging percentage and 17 RBIs despite hitting in the No. 3 spot in the order. Wedge has said he's open to moving Ichiro out of that spot, but needs a ready replacement for the job.

Seager, batting .265 with a team-high 26 RBIs and .447 slugging percentage, received at least a one-day audition Wednesday.

"He's probably been our most consistent hitter this year and our best run producer, for the most part," Wedge said. "It'll be interesting to see him in there."

As for sitting Ichiro, Wedge called that a "non-issue" designed just to "give him a good break."

"I think he understands that I'm doing it just to help him get a blow, catch his breath and come back strong Friday," said Wedge.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.