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Seattle's Ichiro Springs Forward

Sunday, March 27, 2005; Page E13

Ichiro Suzuki is at it again.

Sure, it's only spring training, but Seattle's star outfielder is leading the Cactus League with a .531 average and 26 hits -- best in the majors -- going into the weekend.

Things are looking up for Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki this spring -- he is batting .531, with 26 hits. (Lenny Ignelzi -- AP)

_____From the AP_____
Around the Grapefruite League: Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton and Marlon Byrd are still sidelined.
Around the Cactus League: The Rockies overcome a shaky outing by their bullpen to hold off the Cubs, 7-6.
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With a sixth-inning triple Friday against Kansas City, Ichiro stretched his hitting streak to all 15 of his spring games, tying a Mariners record set by Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.

After an historic season last year, when Ichiro broke an 84-year-old major league record with 262 hits, fans on both sides of the Pacific Ocean are eager to see what he'll do for a follow-up.

Can he become the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941? Maybe he can challenge Joe DiMaggio's record 56-game hitting streak set that year. Ichiro was jokingly asked if he can hit in all 162 games.

"If that happens, I'll quit baseball," he said through an interpreter, returning serve with a playful laugh.

Not only did Ichiro make history with 262 hits in 2004, breaking George Sisler's 1920 mark, but his 46-hit margin over runner-up Michael Young of Texas (216) was the largest difference ever.

He hit .372 for his second American League batting title.

-- From News Services

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