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Ichiro close to signing deal to return to Mariners

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Bob Nightengale reports that Ichiro Suzuki is close to finalizing one year major league deal with the Seattle Mariners.

Earlier today it was reported that the Mariners’ Ben Gamel has an oblique strain that will put him out 4-6 weeks and that Mitch Haniger has hand tendinitis and hasn’t taken batting practice in six days. Between that, the fact that Guillermo Heredia is recovering from shoulder surgery and the fact that one of their healthy outfielders — Dee Gordon — is actually a second baseman means that there are some opportunities for outfielders with Seattle.

Ichiro may not have much left in the tank — he hit only .255/.318/.332 in 2017 — but he’s healthy and still wants to play in the bigs. Obviously, he knows his way around Safeco Field too, what with the whole “playing the bulk of his Hall of Fame career with the Mariners” thing, so that’s an added bonus.

 

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.