He stands in the batter's box, extending his right arm like a referee signaling a first down. With his 33 ½-inch, 32-ounce black bat pointing to the sky, he reaches with his left arm and tugs at his right sleeve. For Ichiro Suzuki, this is the bold declaration of a duel he has won at a better rate than almost any other hitter in the major leagues.

Suzuki has performed this routine roughly 8,500 times in a major league uniform. But he has never done it in pinstripes in the Bronx, until now. Suzuki, the Yankees' latest famous addition, will make his home debut Friday night against the rival Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees hold a comfortable division lead, and the last-place Red Sox are listless. Suzuki will be front and center. He is used to the role, as a pioneer for Japanese ballplayers in the United States and a 10-time All-Star. But New York is not used to him.