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With more time off, Ichiro goes on tear

With more time off, Ichiro goes on tear

SAN DIEGO -- Ichiro Suzuki has gone on a hitting tear since getting just his second day off this season on Monday, and manager Eric Wedge doesn't think it's a coincidence.

Wedge has given Ichiro two days off this season and indicated that will be something he does more with the 38-year-old after he went 11-for-22 in the ensuing five games to raise his average from .255 to .273. Ichiro concluded his red-hot road trip with a 1-for-3 day with a walk in Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Padres, as he extended his hitting streak to five games.

"We'll pick some other spots for him to give him a day," Wedge said Sunday morning. "I just think it helps him. It's not a bad thing. Whatever we can do to get the most production from all of our guys, we're going to do. And if it means giving Ichi a day off here or there, that's what we're going to do."

Wedge doesn't have a set number of days off in mind, but said it'll be more of a feel for how things are going. He definitely likes the uptick in the veteran's performance this week.

"I've said it before. I think that does mean something," Wedge said of Ichiro's spike after his rest day. "He's a great player and all great players are a little stubborn because they want to play every day. But ultimately I think we've proven here in my short period of time, with all of the three days off I've given him in a year and a half, that he's had some success afterward. So I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing."

Wedge likes what he's seen recently from his veteran right fielder.

"Ichiro is turning it up, as far as I'm concerned," Wedge said. "He's a little more aggressive, early in the count, aggressive with pitches he feels he can drive and not just hit. He's tough with two strikes and that's been his game.

"But early in the count or ahead in the count, I like him being more aggressive and looking to barrel the ball up. That's what we've seen more of and he's had more success. Hopefully we're seeing the start of him getting himself going, which would be a big lift for us."