Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki slapped a first-inning single into left field Wednesday off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey for his 4,000th professional hit between North America and Japan. Ichiro was then mobbed at first base by his Yankees teammates and saluted in unique fashion by Jays second baseman and fellow countryman Munenori Kawasaki.
You’re going to want to watch this highlight:
Ichiro tallied 1,278 hits in Nippon Professional Baseball and has 2,722 hits and counting in MLB.
The 39-year-old is one of only five players in the history of the sport to collect more than 4,000 combined hits as a pro and the rest of the list is like a baseball Mount Rushmore. Pete Rose had 4,683 hits between the minors and major leagues, Ty Cobb had 4,357, Hank Aaron had 4,095 and Stan Musial had 4,001.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.