Ichiro’s storied career has continued into 2014, as the Japanese superstar is relentless in his pursuit of a World Series title. Unfortunately, his current situation has likely eliminated his possibility of reaching the 3,000 hit mark.
Going into this season, the seemingly ageless Ichiro had appeared to finally have slowed down, with his batting and on base averages both plummeting in recent years. Due to this, the New York Yankees had decided to relegate the legend to a reserve role and limited playing time.
However, Ichiro has delivered in those roles, going 25-for-70, on his way to a .357 average, and .416 on-base percentage. Ichiro entered the season with 2742 hits, just 258 shy of the elusive 3,000 hit club. With Ichiro’s ability, it would likely have only taken two seasons of full-time play for him to reach that, even at his worst. The Yankees, however, were not willing to take a flyer on the 40-year old starting, especially ahead of Alfonso Soriano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brett Gardner.
With the outfield and DH spots (outside of Gardner) struggling to get on base, Ichiro saw four starts last week, and didn’t disappoint, hitting .333, with a .474 OBP between May 18th and 24th. Ichiro has also stated recently that he has no plans on retiring.
While Ichiro’s pursuit of 3,000 hits looked to be in danger at the beginning of the season, Ichiro’s persistence and skill may in fact will him into the Yankees lineup. If it doesn’t, surely plenty of playoff contending teams will be calling for his services—and potential milestones—around the trade deadline.