MLB suspends Ryan Braun for the remainder of the season

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MLB announced that Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has been suspended for the remainder of the season for “violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

Braun has already accepted the suspension and the former MVP issued a statement that said: “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.”

Milwaukee has 65 games remaining and Braun has been suspended without pay, which means he’ll lose about $3.5 million. He finishes the year hitting .298 with nine homers and an .869 OPS in 61 games, missing time and seeing his production suffer due to a lingering thumb injury.

More coverage: Evidence against A-Rod reportedly goes beyond what Braun faced

Last year Braun successfully appealed a 50-game suspension for elevated testosterone levels on the grounds that the test sample was handled improperly, holding a press conference to proclaim his innocence and saying, among other things: “My name was dragged through the mud. … Today is for anyone who has been wrongly accused and everyone who stood up for what’s right. It’s about future players and the game of baseball.”

In light of today’s news, the quotes from that 2012 press conference are astounding.

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?