Meanwhile, Kevin Mitchell allegedly decapitated his girlfriend’s cat in the 1980s.

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I was a kid in the 80s and I all I really remember about Kevin Mitchell were his baseball cards, his on-field exploits and the random things like that bare-handed catch, his multiple position switches, is prodigious weight gain and stuff like that. I certainly didn’t know anything about his life or what he was like as a person. You really didn’t know that stuff about anyone back then.

So I missed this thing about where he allegedly decapitated his girlfriend’s cat. Doc Gooden wrote about it in his autobiography in 1999, but I didn’t read that. Darryl Strawberry talked to HuffPostLive yesterday, however, and it came up:

“That’s a pretty good story. I think that’s pretty accurate,” Strawberry told host Marc Lamont Hill. “Kevin Mitchell did do that. Kevin Mitchell, he’s a different type of guy. Great guy, super teammate…I guess he figured that the girlfriend was acting a little crazy, so I’ll kill her cat.”

So I tweet about it just now out of shock, and then someone sends me a link to a story from October 1989 about how Mitchell used to eat Vicks VapoRup. Like actually ate it. With his mouth and stuff.

Next time someone says the players today aren’t like they used to be, think of Kevin Mitchell and then thank God Almighty that that’s the case.

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?