Angels send slumping White Sox to fifth straight loss

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Jered Weaver picked up his 19th win of the season Sunday as the Angels completed a three-game sweep of the reeling White Sox.

Weaver allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings in the 4-1 victory. The game was scoreless until the sixth, when Albert Pujols delivered a two-run double and Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer to give the Angels all of the runs they’d need. The White Sox came back with one in the seventh, but they could do no additional damage.

The White Sox have now lost five in a row, but they’re still ahead of the Tigers at the moment after Detroit lost the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Twins. The Tigers could move back into a tie for first place in the AL Central by winning the nightcap.

The Angels are 2 1/2 games back of the A’s for the second wild card. They get Monday off before finishing with three games at home against the Mariners and then road series in Texas and Seattle. Oakland has the same opponents. The A’s have four games in Texas beginning Monday and then three games at home against both the Mariners and Rangers.

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?