On Wednesday, the Mariners hosted the Marlins for a series finale. As outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, who spent the first 12 years of his major league career in Seattle, is now with the Marlins, the Mariners fittingly gave away an Ichiro dual bobblehead.
The Marlins fell behind for good in the fourth inning when the Mariners took an 8-3 lead. Suzuki gave both Marlins and Mariners fans something to cheer about in the top of the ninth inning, however, as he lifted an Evan Marshall fastball out to right-center field for a solo home run in what is likely his final at-bat at Safeco Field. The Seattle crowd gave Suzuki a loud standing ovation.
Suzuki, now 43, hit .322/.366/.418 with 438 stolen bases as a Mariner from 2001-12. He won the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP Awards in ’01 and made the All-Star team 10 years running from ’01-10. He’s been with the Marlins since 2015. While he isn’t the player he once was due to age, he showed last year he still has something left in the tank by finishing with a .730 OPS. Suzuki has struggled to start 2017, however, entering Wednesday’s action hitting .067/.067/.067.
Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.
Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.
Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.
Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.