If the Yankees were going to give Ichiro Suzuki what he wanted, then the 10-time All-Star was going to have to meet his new team halfway.
Prior to acquiring the 38-year-old outfielder from the Mariners on Monday, the Yankees required Ichiro to sign off on a list of sacrifices they wanted the Japanese star to make, according to a report from ESPNNewYork.com.
The Yankees asked Ichiro to change outfield positions, hit toward the bottom of New York's lineup and possibly sit out against left-handed pitching. A career .322 hitter, Ichiro is batting just .261 with a .288 on-base percentage this season. He went 1-for-4 in his Yankees debut Monday night in Seattle, with a single in his first at-bat and a stolen base.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com that Ichiro was "fully educated" on all of the club's conditions. Ichiro also had to waive his no-trade clause for the deal -- which sent Minor League right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners -- to go through.
Ichiro requested a trade from the only Major League organization he has ever been with. He joined the Mariners in 2001 at the age of 27 and promptly won the American League Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player awards, while batting .350 with 56 stolen bases for a Seattle squad that won 116 regular season games. The two-time AL batting champion holds the Major League record with 262 hits in a season, which he set in 2004. He is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As he approached the plate in the third inning on Monday, he bowed to the fans at Safeco Field, who gave him a standing ovation. Ichiro batted eighth for the Yankees and sported No. 31 on his jersey, a change from the No. 51 he wore during his tenure in Seattle.
"I was kind of worried, getting up on that first at-bat," Ichiro said after the Yankees' 4-1 win. "But with the standing ovation, I was really relieved. It was a special day today."