"When I watched it, sometimes I thought it was like a fight," the newest Yankee said of what he's observed of the rivalry. "Not in a real sense of them actually fighting, but a fighting atmosphere type of game is what I felt watching it on TV."
Ichiro, acquired from the Mariners in exchange for two minor-league pitchers Monday, is expected to make his debut in front of Yankees fans Friday night at the Stadium against the Red Sox.
Having played at the Stadium only as a visitor, he can be forgiven for not entirely understanding the Bleacher Creatures' tradition.
"I hope the fans do call my name," he said through his translator. "But I need to play to the ability to where hopefully the fans will call my name."
Forget "hope,'' of course. As long as he's in the starting lineup -- probably in rightfield, as Nick Swisher (strained hip flexor) isn't expected back -- he'll hear his name.
And the reaction thereafter is likely to be positive . . . at least until his first 0-for-12.
"As a visiting player, you get a lot of fans heckling you and I kind of enjoyed that," he said. "Now that I'm on the home side, I'm not sure what to expect, what the reaction will be like, but I'm definitely excited."
In his first meeting with reporters after the trade, Ichiro, who went 3-for-12 in the Seattle series, mentioned looking forward to the different "stimulation" he anticipates will come from a trade to a first-place team.
"There's something to be said for being thrust into a pennant race," said Mark Teixeira, who experienced something similar when he was sent from struggling teams to contenders in 2007 and 2008. "No matter what your situation is in baseball, you want to win. No player likes losing. Even if you get four hits a night, it's kind of like empty success."
And Teixeira said no longer being the lone star in the clubhouse -- the case for Ichiro in Seattle -- could be a relief.
"One of the reasons New York was appealing to me as a free agent was I wouldn't have to be 'that guy' who everyone looked at every single game, every single at-bat," said Teixeira, who signed an eight-year, $180-million deal before the 2009 season. "We do have so many players who can share that responsibility, and I think he's going to enjoy that here."
Notes & quotes: GM Brian Cashman said Alex Rodriguez (broken left metacarpal) met with team physician Christopher Ahmad and hand specialist Melvin P. Rosenwasser Thursday. He said the feeling he got after talking to both doctors backed up his original thoughts that A-Rod will be back this season. "We're looking at eight weeks, max," Cashman said . . . Though Swisher did a full workout Thursday at the Stadium and "looked good," Cashman said, "he's not a player for us tomorrow." The Yankees hope to have him back at some point this weekend, but Cashman said his message to Swisher is "big picture, it's important to make sure when you're back, you're back for good." . . . Joba Chamberlain will throw a bullpen session in front of team officials Friday, then pitch in a rehab game Sunday, likely for Double-A Trenton, which is at home. Triple-A Scranton is at Pawtucket, R.I., on Sunday . . . Pedro Feliciano (rotator cuff) will throw a second batting-practice session Friday in Tampa and is on track, barring a setback, to be a call-up when rosters expand in September.