Ichiro Suzuki interested in pitching for the Yankees
Much like the New York Yankees Mariano Rivera expressed interest in playing outfield in the final year of his career (didn’t happen), the 4000-hit member Ichiro Suzuki would be “happy” if called upon to throw an inning for the Yankees, even if just in a blowout. David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Ichiro might be the next up if the Yankees need a mop up guy:
[Yankees manager Joe] Girardi, who has seen video of Suzuki’s appearance, said he would consider using him in an emergency.
“I’ll definitely ask him if he can do it,” Girardi said. “It looks like he has pretty good stuff.”
The video referred to is from an Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPBL) All-Star game. Dayn Perry of CBS Eye on Baseball unearthed the footage of the very young superstar.
Ichiro was quick to boast of his stuff (via Waldstein):
“Fastball and slider,” [Ichiro] said with pride. “But like all Japanese pitchers, the splitter is my bread and butter.”
Suzuki does shoulder exercises and plays long toss to keep his arm strong all year long, he said, and could probably throw 40 to 50 pitches with no problem.
“If they need 100 pitches, I would have to get stretched out,” he said through his interpreter, Alan Turner.
There’s been a preponderance of position players called upon to pitch this season. After Jose Canseco was injured in that manner, most stars are off limits for the duty. However, at this stage of Ichiro’s career, I don’t think it would be too risky (over anyone else).
- David Whitlock