Ichiro, Matsui meet again

The first pitch of the Mariners-Angels game is almost four hours away and the press box is unusually active. There are at least twice as many Japanese writers in the ‘box than U.S. scribes.

The reason: the first meeting of the season between Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and Angels designated hitter Hideki Matsui, still two of the most famous Japan-born players anywhere.

Ichiro, the first player in Major League history to have nine consecutive 200-hit seasons, is off to another good start in quest of 10, 200-plus hit seasons, which would tie Pete Rose for the all-time record for most 200-hit seasons in a career.

The Mariners right fielder has at least one hit in 15 of his past 19 gamjes, batting .363 during the hot streak.

Matsui, meanwhile, is batting .243 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in his first season with the Angels.

Meanwhile, here’s the starting lineup:

1. Ichiro, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 2B
3. Casey Kotchman, 1B
4. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
5. Ken Griffey Jr., DH
6. Jose Lopez, 3B
7. Josh Wilson, SS
8. Rob Johnson, C
9. Michael Saunders, LF
RHP Felix Hernandez.

— Jim Street

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