Mark Ellis to return soon, but might have lost starting job

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A’s second baseman Mark Ellis told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend that he expects to be activated from the 15-day disabled list on June 22, the first day he’s eligible.

Ellis was shut down just five days ago with a sore right hamstring, but he ran at about 75 percent effort on Saturday afternoon and also took grounders on the infield during batting practice. He’s getting healthy quickly and should be ready to head out on a minor league rehab assignment early this week.

Now comes the big question: Will Ellis have a starting job upon returning to the major leagues?

The A’s called up top infield prospect Jemile Weeks when they disabled Ellis on June 7, and Weeks has brought an element of excitement to the Oakland batting order. Through his first 19 major league plate appearances, the 24-year-old is hitting .353/.389/.647 with two triples, a double and an RBI.

“I know I’m a good player, I know he’s a good player, and you can’t have too many good players,” Ellis acknowledged Saturday. “These things have a way of working themselves out.”

A’s interim manager Bob Melvin told reporters that he’s evaluating the situation on a “day to day” basis.

Ichiro wore a fake mustache to sneak into the Mariners’ dugout

Associated Press
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Ichiro Suzuki is now a Mariners employee and, as such, he’s not allowed to sit in the dugout during a game. That’s for coaches and players only.

He knows that, too. Indeed, on the day Ichiro announced his sorta-retirement, he talked about how it was going to be hard not to be down on the field with the other players. He even made a ridiculous joke about how, “[he] can’t say for certain that maybe [he] won’t put on a beard and glasses and be like Bobby Valentine and be in the dugout.”

In related news, this mysterious stranger was seen by an Associated Press photographer in the Mariners dugout during the first couple of innings of the M’s-Yankees game:

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

No beard, but I guess that joke was not very ridiculous after all. Either way, by the end of the second inning — poof — he was gone.

Obviously, when something interesting like this happens you mustache an expert for their opinion on the matter. To that end, the Associated Press reached Bobby Valentine, who famously did the same thing after an ejection way back in 1999, for comment:

“He was perfect. I never would have known it was him.”

Valentine was suspended for two games and fined $5,000. I’m assuming Ichiro won’t get hit quite as hard given that he wasn’t defying an umpire’s authority, but even if he does have to pay a fine, he’ll likely do so willingly.