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Still unsure exactly what to expect from the Japanese newcomer, Lou Piniella kept waiting for the rookie to pull a ball. Mets Jerseys 2019 . Too many hits sprayed to left field, Sweet Lou thought, too easy for defenses to adjust.So the veteran Seattle manager summoned the translator and told him to deliver a message to Ichiro Suzuki: I want to see some bat speed.Piniella saw them huddle in the dugout and share a laugh. A couple of innings later, Suzuki led off with a home run into the bullpen in right-center.He rounds the bases, he steps on home plate, and he says, `Happy now? when he shook my hand, Piniella recalled. I said, `Yeah, yeah, you can do whatever you want.All these years later, with Suzuki on the verge of joining the 3,000-hit club in the big leagues, his first skipper in the majors is taking a lot of pride in watching the pursuit. As much as Piniella believed in Suzuki from the start and was in awe of those early accomplishments with the Mariners, he never would have guessed the outfielder would still be playing at age 42 and going for such a lofty perch.Suzuki hit .335 with a .412 on-base percentage in 164 at-bats over the first half with Miami. He reached 2,991 hits Friday night with a pinch single in the eighth inning of the Marlins 7-6 victory at St. Louis in the return from the All-Star break.Now gray-haired and no longer a regular in his 16th major league season, Suzuki might have lost a step, but not much. Credit his commitment to an intense regimen that has long included an on-deck routine that features a deep warmup squat, then a one-of-a-kind stance and a sweeping twirl of his bat.Suzuki was 27 and had 1,278 hits in Japan before he came to the big leagues. Piniella got so excited after Suzukis two-hit debut in 2001 that he kissed him.I was so happy for him, thats why, Piniella said. Its hard for a player to come here from Japan, especially with the scrutiny that he had. Im an emotional guy. I got caught up in the moment. I gave him a hug and at the same time I gave him a little peck. Look, I really enjoyed watching this young man play and I knew from seeing him in spring training that he was a special player.At the time, Suzuki did not come cheaply. Seattle paid $13 million just to secure his rights, and signed him to a three-year, $14 million contract. The Mariners got their moneys worth and then some.Suzuki, better known just by his first name, has long prided himself in preparation.So much so that Piniella had been around no other player like him, with that meticulous stretching before stepping into the batters box to the foot rubdowns he gave himself at his locker with a small wooden tool before and after games.I had never seen it, quite frankly. I was quite amazed by the things that he did, the stretching especially, Piniella said. Here in the United States, we go through a rigorous spring training, but once the season starts prior to the games we have our stretching exercises and then the kids play.He took it to a totally different level. He was fanatical about that and thats probably one of the big reasons that hes playing here at age 42, he said.That first season was a memorable one for many reasons. The Mariners won an AL-record 116 games, clinching the division shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Yet Seattle failed to reach the World Series, losing in five games of the AL Championship Series to the Yankees.Still, Suzuki won AL Rookie of the Year and MVP. Suzukis ability to beat out infield hits at times left Piniella shaking his head.He did have a special year. The team had a special year that year, Piniella said. We won 116 games and Ichiro was a big part of it. Ichiro was a special player. He had really good speed, he had that uncanny ability to put the ball in play. In the outfield, he played as well as you can expect, great throwing arm. He made the adjustment to American baseball very quickly, became one of the leaders in our clubhouse and was accepted by the players. He had a tremendous impact on our team that year.Hes going for his 3,000th hit now, and Im so proud of him. Hes had just a wonderful career. I look forward to the time when hell be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he said.Some of the most memorable hits by the 10-time All-Star didnt even count.In 2007, Suzuki hit the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star game history, winning unanimous MVP honors and helping the American League to a 5-4 victory at San Franciscos AT&T Park with a go-ahead, two-run drive that took a crazy bounce off the right-field wall.Hed never hit an inside-the-park homer during his decorated career in Japan.Hes an amazing guy, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. You just take age out of the equation and if you just looked at him as a player, if you evaluated just what you see, not thinking about age, you see a guy that runs above average, plays all three outfield spots, throws above average, hits lefties and righties.His work habits and everything else, for me, just set him apart.---AP Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report. Cheap Mets Jerseys . Michell Burger, a woman who lives on an estate next to Pistorius gated community, said she and her husband were awoken by the screams in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14 last year, when Pistorius killed Reeva Steenkamp by shooting four times through a door in his bathroom. New York Mets Pro Shop . LOUIS -- Roman Polak was celebrating even before Alexander Steen scored the winning goal in Saturdays 4-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. https://www.cheapmetsjerseys.us/ . The winner Saturday will remain in the elite 10-team field next year. "We talked about wanting to be disciplined and stick with our game plan and good things will come," Draisaitl said, who had two goals for the victors.Robert Thornton believes his struggling rivals will be feeling all the pressure on Judgement Night in the Premier League. The Scot sits just above the bottom placed duo of Dave Chisnall and Michael Smith ahead of tonights matches, live on Sky Sports, and two from the trio will be eliminated at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.Thornton moved off the foot of the table last week as he claimed a win over Smith and then a battling draw with Michael van Gerwen. Smith and Chisnall are both a point adrift of Thornton, who could be safe by the time he faces Adrian Lewis, if neither man can pick up the necessary results. I can just go up and enjoy myself and Ill give it everything. Robert Thornton I know its in my hands and theres more pressure on the other two players than me, said Thornton. I can just go up and enjoy myself and Ill give it everything.My confidence is quite high now. Im playing with new darts, with longer points and better grip, and starting to get used to them and Im really looking forward to this week.I wont give in and if I can go up and perform the way I played last week, or even slightly better, then even if I lose I can go out with my head held high. Michael Smith needs to produce an upset result against Phil Taylor Smiths leg difference means he desperately needs a win from his match with Phil Taylor to give himself a real chance of survival.All I can do is focus on myself and on playing as well as I can against Phil because if I lose then Im out anyway, he said. Ill give it my best shot and do everything I can to get the win.Even if I get knocked out I want to end on a high. Its been a great couple of months and Im really enjoying the Premier League, so hopefully I can survive on Thursday. Dave Chisnall has joined Smith in the bottom two Chisnall takes on Peter Wright and fully admits that his own wasteful finishing has left him in this precarious position. New York Mets Shirts. Ive been starting off alright but Ive missed too many doubles and thats been the story of my season, said Chisnall. Its been frustrating and Ive had too many slack darts.Its all about timing and Im getting it wrong - Im not finishing the chances Im getting. Its fine margins and on another night the doubles might go in, but its my own fault. I put myself in this place so I have to dig it out. With Premier League Judgement Night looming, heres a look at what happened at this stage in 2015 Ive got a good record against Peter but if I keep missing doubles then Im not going to win games, so well see what happens. Ive been in this situation before and come through, so hopefully the result will go my way.Watch all of the Premier League action on Judgement Night, with live coverage starting at 7pm on Sky Sports 1. Or watch live for £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV. Also See: Studd: Barney back from brink Prem Table ' ' '