Matt Murton went 3-for-5 last night, giving the former Cubs outfielder 213 hits on the year to break Japan’s single-season record of 210 hits set by Ichiro Suzuki in 1994.
Murton still has two more games to add to his total, although it’s worth noting that Suzuki played when the Japanese schedule was 130 games, compared to the current 144-game schedule. Murton acknowledged the difference in season lengths after breaking Suzuki’s record:
1994 and 2010 are two different seasons. He did it in 130 games. It is what it is, it’s a great honor. In terms of Ichiro, this doesn’t change anything. He’s one of the best players in baseball.
Meanwhile, last month Suzuki became the first player in MLB history to reach 200 hits in 10 consecutive seasons and joined Pete Rose as just the second player in MLB history to have 200 hits in 10 seasons, period. Prior to signing with the Mariners in 2001 he captured seven straight batting titles in Japan.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.