TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki watched as the New York Yankees added Jacoby Ellsbury and then Carlos Beltran to an outfield that already included Brett Gardner and the Japanese star plus Alfonso Soriano, a backup who figures to see time at designated hitter.
What did he think?
Suzuki gave his reply, and his interpreter started to translate.
"Obviously I don't get frustrated or angry," the interpreter said. "My reaction was kind — "
And then Suzuki leaned forward and interrupted.
"Oops," he said in English, smiling.
"That's the reaction," the interpreter said.
The 40-year-old outfielder arrived from Japan after spending nine seasons with the Pacific League's Orix Blue Wave, and he won the AL batting title, Rookie of the Year and MVP awards in 2001. He became a 10-time All-Star and won a second batting crown in 2004, when his 262 hits broke the season record George Sisler set 84 years earlier.
He had a record 10 straight seasons with 200 or more hits, but as his skills eroded, the Mariners dealt him to the Yankees in July 2012. He has a chance to reach 3,000 hits — he enters the season with 2,742, but he might not get a lot of at-bats in New York.