Apparently fatigued, Josh Beckett has next start pushed back

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The Red Sox were elusive when it came to details, but they revealed after Sunday’s game that Josh Beckett wouldn’t pitch again until Wednesday at the earliest.

Beckett, who was off to a blazing start this season, didn’t come out with his best stuff when he faced the Orioles on Wednesday, and he ended up allowing four runs in six innings in a no-decision.  Speculation is that he’s had trouble bouncing back from his 125-pitch outing against the Angels six days earlier.

The plan is for Beckett to throw a side session on Monday.  If he comes out of that OK, then he’ll probably face the Angels on Wednesday.  If not, then a DL stint could be lurking, though the Boston Globe declined to raise that possibility in its report.

Mariners sign Ichiro to a minor league deal

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.

I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.

Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.

Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?