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News » Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-29

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-29

Seattle Mariners Inside Pitch 2008-07-29
As right fielder Ichiro Suzuki closed within one hit of 3,000 in his career, another element of his game has gained notice: He isn't stealing bases like he was early in the season.

Suzuki, who tripled in four at-bats Monday at Texas to give him 2,999 hits (combining his major league and Japanese totals), has 34 steals this season. However, he has only one stolen base since June 23 and hasn't attempted a steal since July 5.

Suzuki dealt with a mild hamstring problem just before the All-Star break, but manager Jim Riggleman said his recent reluctance to run has no connection with his health.

"His legs are fine," Riggleman said. "In the first half of the year, for whatever reason, pitchers didn't seem to focus on him when he was on base. The last three weeks or so, they've gotten much quicker to the plate when Ichiro is on. I use a stopwatch in the dugout, and the times to the plate are like 1.18 seconds, maybe 1.20. If you run on that, there's a real good chance you'll be caught."

Riggleman believes more pitchers are using a slide step while Suzuki is on base than earlier in the season.

"Ichiro has the green light, just like he did the entire first half," Riggleman said. "He just doesn't force the issue."

MARINERS 7, RANGERS 5: 3B Adrian Beltre hit two home runs Monday, including a solo homer in the eighth inning that broke a 5-5 tie. 1B Bryan LaHair, called up from Class AAA Tacoma after the All-Star break, hit his first career home run and LF Raul Ibanez also homered for the Mariners, who won their second in succession after a seven-game losing streak.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 29, 2008

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