Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki lined a Jaime Garcia offering to left field in the fifth inning in a 3-1 loss on Friday night. It didn’t have the appearance of a milestone hit, but the crowd at Busch Stadium in St. Louis gave the veteran a nice round of applause — and with good reason. The single was the 4,191st hit in professional baseball for Suzuki — combining his achievements in Japan and in the United States — putting him in a tie with Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, who is second behind Pete Rose on baseball’s all-time hits list. Rose had 4,256 hits.
Suzuki, now 41, made his major league debut with the Mariners in 2001, earning American League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. He would log 200-plus hits in 10 consecutive seasons, including 262 in 2004 when he set the single-season hits record. He has 2,913 in the major leagues. In Japan, between 1992-2000, Suzuki logged 1,278 hits.
If Ichiro were to surpass Rose, it would not be recognized as an official record. However, it’s certainly an accomplishment we can appreciate. It will certainly be used to bolster arguments in favor of his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.