It took 294 at-bats, but Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has at long last hit a home run. His last, prior to tonight, occurred on August 30 last season against the Orioles.
The Yankees were trailing the Blue Jays 4-3 in the bottom of the third, but were threatening, putting runners on first and second with one out against Mark Buehrle. Ichiro waited on a 1-1 curveball and slugged it just over the fence in right field for a three-run blast, putting the Yankees up 6-4.
The power has otherwise been few and far between for Ichiro this season, as he entered the night with a meager .278/.328/.314 slash line with 11 RBI and six stolen bases in 243 plate appearances.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.