Brendan Ryan scratched Saturday due to neck stiffness

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From MLB.com’s Greg Johns comes word that Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan was scratched from Saturday’s game against the A’s due to neck stiffness.

Ryan missed time near the end of the 2011 season with neck issues and suffered a pinched nerve this spring, but Mariners skipper Eric Wedge assured reporters that this recent bout of discomfort is not related.

“He just slept wrong,” Wedge said about an hour before first pitch. “With an off-day tomorrow, I don’t want to push it. I don’t want one day to turn into a week or 3-4 days, so it’s my call on that one.”

Ryan’s absence clears the way for Japanese infielder Munenori Kawasaki to make his major league debut.

53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro homers in independent league ball

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It was announced earlier this month that 53-year-old Rafael Palmeiro signed a contract with the Cleburne Railroaders of the independent American Association, joining his son, former minor leaguer Patrick Palmeiro. The four-time All-Star went 0-for-8 to begin his stint with the club before launching a solo homer in the fifth inning last night. Check it out below.

If we’re being technical here, that was his first home run since July 30, 2005. He hit the homer off 28-year-old Trey McNutt, former prospect with the Cubs and Padres. Palmeiro made his major league debut in 1986, three years before McNutt was born.

Palmeiro told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic last December that he was thinking about a comeback, but he understandably didn’t garner any serious consideration from MLB teams. This comeback attempt might not lead anywhere, but hey, he gets to show that he can still mash while hitting in the same lineup with his son. Palmeiro did that once before with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, though it was just a one-game thing. As for the Railroaders, the national media attention can only help them.

Palmeiro is one of just six players in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits and 500 home runs, but he’s been a disgraced figure in the game since a failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2005. He dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2014.