Ichiro 'comfortable' back atop order

Ichiro 'comfortable' back atop order

CHICAGO -- Ichiro Suzuki was back in the leadoff spot for a second straight game on Saturday against the White Sox and responded with a pair of home runs in Seattle's 10-8 victory in 12 innings. The 38-year-old right fielder clearly welcomes the return to his familiar role after being asked to bat third for the first two months of the season.

"Naturally, being used to leading off for 11 years, this is just normal," Ichiro said after Friday's game, his first back in the top spot in the order. "So that is how I feel. We don't know yet, obviously, how the future will turn out. That's how I feel for the moment."

Speaking through interpreter Antony Suzuki, Ichiro indicated he was looking for a spark from his return to the role he's filled for 1,721 of the 1,786 games he's started over 12 seasons with Seattle.

"Being back in the leadoff [spot] is very comfortable," he said. "It feels like getting back to my own spot. There was no hesitation. We started the season a couple months ago, but now is like a second start for me. And it's a refreshing start as well."

Ichiro is hitting .271 with a .303 on-base percentage, both slightly below last year's .272 and .310 marks that were the lowest of his career. His slugging percentage of .389 is up from last year's .335, but both are well below his career .420 mark.