Ted Lilly had the nerve endings in his neck cauterized

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Ted Lilly is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League after missing all but five starts this year with neck problems that led to being released by the Dodgers in July.

In order to get healthy enough to return to the mound Lilly underwent a procedure to … well, I’ll let Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times explain:

Lilly is trying to regain his form in the Venezuelan Winter League after having the nerve endings on the right side of his neck cauterized by a spine specialist. The procedure is not considered surgery, but a large needle is used to burn nerve endings, his agent said.

Woof. Lilly is 38 years old with 13 seasons in the majors and $80 million in career earnings, so he must really like pitching.

Mariners sweep A’s in two-game Japan Series

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The big news, of course, is Ichiro’s retirement. But there was a baseball game that counted today as well and the Mariners took it. Seattle beat Oakland 5-4 in 12 innings to sweep the two-game Japan Series.

Ichiro may have taken an 0-for-4 in his last game, but Ryon Healy and Mitch Haniger homered for the Mariners, staking Seattle to a 3-0 lead after three. The A’s picked up two in the fifth and Seattle added one via a Jay Bruce sac fly to make it 4-2 in the seventh. Oakland tied things back up, ultimately sending it to extras when Khris Davis singled in Matt Chapman in the seventh. Davis would blow a chance to put Oakland ahead in the 11th when he struck out with the bases loaded.

In the twelfth, Domingo Santana, who hit a grand slam in Seattle’s win in the opener on Wednesday, beat out a would-be double-play with the bases loaded to drive in the go-ahead and, ultimately, winning run.

The rebuilding Mariners are now 2-0 on the young year. The A’s, who won 97 games last year, are 0-2. Viva the smallest of sample sizes.