The Australian Baseball League gets underway

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There was a baseball league in Australia from 1989-99. It hemorrhaged cash, and was eventually bought by ex-Brewer Dave Nilsson. The league folded around then. I assume Nilsson still plays with it in his basement or something.

But now there’s a new one — also called the Australian Baseball League — that just debuted on Saturday.  It’s styled more like a winter league a la Mexico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. It has Ryan Rowland-Smith and Peter Moylan in it, so it has to be legit.  There are six teams: The Adelaide Bite; the Brisbane Bandits; the Canberra Cavalry; the Melbourne Aces; the Perth Heat; and the Sydeny Blue Sox.  If it’s successful in its first year they expect to expand with the Maitland Midnight Oil and the Victor Harbor Vegemite.

Or maybe not, but I have to get my daily Australia bashing in somehow.

Anyway, this time around the ABL has extensive financial backing from Major League Baseball, so it may last a bit longer. Perhaps INXS of ten years this time.

Ichiro Suzuki tops Rickey Henderson as the oldest starting center fielder

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Marlins’ outfielder Ichiro Suzuki set a new record for the Marlins on Sunday afternoon, and all he had to do was take the field. The 43-year-old made his second start of the year in center field, becoming the oldest starting center fielder in Major League Baseball since 1900.

Suzuki made his first start in center field back on May 6, but came 15 days shy of beating the record Rickey Henderson established in 2002 when he patrolled center field at a sprightly 43 years and 211 days old. During Sunday’s series finale against the Cubs, Suzuki’s 43 years and 246 days set a new record for aging outfielders.

Naturally, Ichiro commemorated his moment in history by doing what he does best — proving that age is just a number. He reached on a fielding error by Addison Russell in the first inning and came home to score on a Marcell Ozuna RBI single to pad the Marlins’ three-run lead. His defense wasn’t too shabby, either, as he gloved a shallow fly ball in the second inning to bail Edinson Volquez out of a bases-loaded jam.

The Marlins currently lead 3-2 in the seventh.

Indians sign Michael Martinez to minor league deal

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There’s something irresistible about Michael Martinez, at least where the Indians are concerned. Six weeks after parting ways with the utility infielder/outfielder, the Indians re-signed Martinez for the fifth time in three years, committing to a minor league contract that will see the 34-year-old in Triple-A Columbus this week. He was designated for assignment by the Rays last Thursday after slashing just .077/.172/.077 through his first 29 PA with the club.

Martinez bounced around the American League last season, logging four games with the Red Sox after the Indians jettisoned him in a trade for cash considerations. He returned to Cleveland on waivers and finished the year with a cumulative .238/.267/.307 batting line, contributing one home run and a .574 OPS in just 106 PA. He found more consistency in the minors, touting a .288 average, 11 extra-base hits and 12 RBI in 114 PA for Triple-A Columbus last season, but didn’t receive enough playing time to develop his stuff at the big league level.

Martinez will rejoin fellow infielders Chris Colabello, Nellie Rodriguez, Josh Wilson, Ronny Rodriguez, Todd Hankins, Yandy Diaz, Eric Stamets and Giovanny Urshela on the Clippers’ roster.