Ichiro Suzuki returns to leadoff spot in Mariners order

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Eric Wedge’s offseason lineup switches just didn’t work out.

A month after pulling Chone Figgins out of the leadoff spot and the lineup altogether, Wedge has decided to go back to Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the order.

Suzuki hit third and started in right field in each of the Mariners’ first 52 games before taking a seat Wednesday. He also had Thursday’s off day to rest up.

Suzuki was a pretty obvious bust as a No. 3 hitter, even though this year’s .271/.305/.367 line is a slight improvement over where he finished last year. He drove in just 17 runs in the 52 games. The Mariners and the Phillies, with 15, are the only teams to get fewer than 20 RBI out of their No. 3 hitters to date.

The incredible thing is that the Mariners have managed a pretty respectable offense anyway. After Wednesday’s outburst, they’re averaging 4.11 runs per game, good for 18th in the majors. They were dead last in the majors at 3.17 runs per game in 2010 and 3.43 last year.

Angel Hernandez — and all of labor — takes a loss in his lawsuit against MLB

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A couple of years ago umpire Angel Hernandez sued Major League Baseball alleging racial discrimination. The suit has chugged along quietly since then and we’ve not paid it much notice, but Sheryl Ring of Fangraphs has and she has a fascinating update from it that will be of interest to both law and labor geeks.

The short version: Major League Baseball wants to obtain records of communications between Hernandez and the umpire’s union, most likely to see if Hernandez ever brought up discrimination claims to his union before filing the suit. The league also wants the union’s own internal evaluations of the job Hernandez does on the field. MLB hopes to be able to undercut Hernandez’s arguments that he was discriminated against via these records.

That all makes sense, but it led to a side battle involving where the lawsuit should take place and whether MLB can get those records based on the law of said forum of the lawsuit. Hernandez sued in Ohio, which recognizes a privilege protecting worker-union communications. MLB got the suit moved to New York, however, and such a privilege is not recognized there. Earlier this week MLB got the New York court to agree that the union records should be handed over.

This is a big deal for Hernandez’s suit, obviously, but it has some pretty big implications for later lawsuits involving unionized employees in general. Oh, and as Ring explains, a screwup by Hernandez’s lawyers may have contributed to this outcome. Which, well, bad calls happen sometimes, right?

Go read Ring’s entire update here for a full, clear explanation that clear and easily understood even by the non-lawyers among us.