Harper adding to legend in JuCo World Series

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Bryce Harper2.jpgThis is getting absolutely ridiculous.

Bryce Harper, who the Nationals are thought to be targeting with their No. 1 pick this June, hit for the cycle on Friday in the semifinals of the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) World Series.  On Saturday he outdid himself, finishing 6-for-6 with 10 RBI and four home runs as the College of Southern Nevada advanced to the NJCAA World Series final.

Harper, a 17-year-old catcher, continues to amaze at the plate and is one of the most intriguing position players to ever enter the MLB draft.  Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post ran an excellent profile about the kid last weekend and the great Jim Callis of Baseball America is also buying into the hype.

The Nats haven’t made anything official, but it’s fairly safe to assume that they like Harper and will grab him first overall in next month’s first-year player draft.  The only issue now is signability, because Harper is expected to demand a contract greater than the record-breaking $15.67 million deal that was struck with Stephen Strasburg last summer.  Lofty expectations?  Sure.  But it’s probably worth noting that Harper’s contract discussions will be under the supervision of super-agent Scott Boras.

Hisashi Iwakuma’s 2017 option vests, but salary still undetermined

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 13: Hisashi Iwakuma #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Oakland Athletics in the bottom of the third inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 13, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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With last Wednesday’s start against the Yankees, Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma pushed his 2016 innings total up to 2016. That clears the 162-inning hurdle for his 2017 option to vest at $14 million. However, as Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reports, the language in Iwakuma’s contract also stipulates that the right-hander finish the season without suffering a specific injury.

Iwakuma, 35, was in agreement with the Dodgers on a three-year contract back in December but failed the physical, which nullified the deal. He ended up signing with the Mariners on a one-year, $12 million deal with a full no-trade clause and club options for 2017 and ’18 that vest at specific inning thresholds (162 each or 324 for both seasons).

This season, Iwakuma has stayed healthy, making 26 starts to the tune of a 14-9 record, a 3.81 ERA and a 118/36 K/BB ratio in 163 innings.

Ichiro Suzuki passes Wade Boggs for 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 28: Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins grounds out during the 2nd inning against the San Diego Padres at Marlins Park on August 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images
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Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki deposited a single to left-center field in the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Mets, then added a double to center field in the eighth. Those mark hits No. 3,010 and 3,011 for Suzuki in his major league career, tying and then moving past Wade Boggs for sole possession of 27th on baseball’s all-time hits list.

Suzuki would come around to score on a double by Xavier Scruggs to break a scoreless tie in the eighth.

Here’s the video of Ichiro’s first hit.

By the end of the season, Suzuki will have presumably moved ahead of Rafael Palmeiro (26th; 3,020) and Lou Brock (25th; 3,023).

Suzuki was 2-for-4 after the double. With baseball’s fifth month nearly complete, the 42-year-old is currently batting .298/.371/.373.