Let’s take a moment to admire Ichiro. In case you didn’t notice, the Seattle Mariners right fielder is good at hitting.
He can hit it off his shoe tops. He can hit it from eye-level. He can jerk it down the line, slash it up the middle or lace it over the third baseman’s head. Occasionally, he can knock it out of the park. More often, he’ll tap it up the middle and fly up the line for an infield single, infuriating infielders and pitchers alike.
The man can hit. On a historic level, even.
On Sunday, he notched his 2,000th hit in the majors. He did it in his 1,402nd game, that’s faster than anyone in MLB history except for Al Simmons, who did it in 12 fewer games, and about six “eras” ago.
Add the 1,278 hits Ichiro notched in Japan, and that puts him at 3,278 in 17 combined seasons. No, the Japanese Pacific League isn’t as good as the American League. But it’s impressive nonetheless.
So take a moment to appreciate this fleet, unorthodox player. Guys like this don’t come around too often.
If you Twitter, and can appreciate a throwing arm, too, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.