PEORIA, Ariz. – For Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, reaching 200 hits for the eighth straight season in a row since debuting in the major leagues is nearly a foregone conclusion.
The 34-year-old Ichiro is confident that trusting in his natural ability and never breaking from his Zen-like routine will bring about that result.
“I have full confidence that I can reach (200 hits) it, now it’s just a question of whether the result will follow,” Ichiro said after the first day of spring training started for his team’s position players on Wednesday.
This confident air shows in his improved mechanics at the plate, where he has been flexing back slightly for a better view. He drew awe from his teammates and manger John McLaren with three consecutive home runs during batting practice.
“I don’t want to go at 100 percent yet. I feel like I am working at 70 or 80 percent of my level from last year.”
He is not bragging, he is just being Ichiro.
Although it is not unheard of for Ichiro to show power on the first day of spring training, he usually gets rolling sometime in mid-March.
This season, he will be aiming to break his tie with Wade Boggs (1983-89) and set an American League record with his eighth consecutive 200-hit season.
That would also tie the major league record from over a century ago set by Wee Willie Keeler (1894 to 1901).
With 216 hits, Ichiro can also break the mark of 3,085 set by Isao Harimoto, Japan’s all-time career hits leader.