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.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.