Taking a moment to admire Ichiro

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ichiro_090906.jpgLet’s take a moment to admire Ichiro. In case you didn’t notice, the Seattle Mariners right fielder is good at hitting.

He can hit it off his shoe tops. He can hit it from eye-level. He can jerk it down the line, slash it up the middle or lace it over the third baseman’s head. Occasionally, he can knock it out of the park. More often, he’ll tap it up the middle and fly up the line for an infield single, infuriating infielders and pitchers alike.

The man can hit. On a historic level, even.

On Sunday, he notched his 2,000th hit in the majors. He did it in his 1,402nd game, that’s faster than anyone in MLB history except for Al Simmons, who did it in 12 fewer games, and about six “eras” ago.

Add the 1,278 hits Ichiro notched in Japan, and that puts him at 3,278 in 17 combined seasons. No, the Japanese Pacific League isn’t as good as the American League. But it’s impressive nonetheless.

So take a moment to appreciate this fleet, unorthodox player. Guys like this don’t come around too often.

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If you Twitter, and can appreciate a throwing arm, too, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.