News Clips— Needle Exchange

MY OH MY! Ichiro-mania has hit the Big Apple.

The good, gray New York Times, where even sports stories take a serious tone, recently dished up several innings worth of praise for the Mariners' latest Japanese import. In the May 21 Times, sportswriter Buster Olney buffed up the Ichiro legend by letting several Yankees (in town for a three-game series with the M's) rave on about his undeniable skills. Shortstop Derek Jeter called him the fastest player to first base he's ever seen. After watching him punch a nasty curveball into the outfield for a base hit, Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina opined that Ichiro sure looks like a potential superstar.

And the stats support it: At the time of this writing, Ichiro was leading the league in runs, hits, and stolen bases, while hitting .571 with runners in scoring position. His most impressive number? Because Ichiro hits the ball solidly, he's broken only four bats in 43 games—clearly a boon for the budget-minded Mariners. James Bush

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