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.
Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.
It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.
While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.
If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.