Nationals sign Kelly Shoppach

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Veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach, who was released by the Mariners two weeks ago, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Nationals.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Shoppach will head to Triple-A, where the 33-year-old hasn’t played regularly since way back in 2006 when he was a Red Sox prospect.

Shoppach has always been solid in a part-time role, but his struggles against right-handed pitching make him stretched as a regular. Washington has Kurt Suzuki and Wilson Ramos ahead of him on the depth chart, so for now at least Shoppach is just organizational depth.

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.