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There’s a push to get Ichiro into the 2018 Home Run Derby

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Mariners manager Scott Servais made an off-hand joke in an appearance on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday, suggesting that Ichiro Suzuki should participate in the Home Run Derby. But fans ran with the idea and it’s now a topic that reporters have had to cover leading into Wednesday evening’s game between the Mariners and Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Servais said, “We started a campaign the other day, and maybe you guys can help. I know a lot of today’s players don’t want to get in the home run hitting contest. I think Ichiro would be a great addition to the home run hitting contest at the All-Star Game. He takes BP every day and he is launching balls. It’s really fun to watch. That would draw a lot of fans.”

Suzuki, of course, understood that Servais was kidding. Per MLB.com’s Greg Johns, Suzuki said, “I thought our skipper didn’t like to tell jokes, but I guess he does. That’s the funniest thing he’s said in the first half of the year.”

Suzuki, 44, struggled to open the season, so he decided to hang up his spikes — at least for the season — and join the Mariners’ front office as a Special Assistant to the Chairman. As Servais mentioned, Suzuki still takes on-field batting practice with the team, and he hasn’t ruled out coming back to play next year. He said, “Right now, I’m not a player. I’m going to be back, but right now, I think it’s just a joke, to be honest with you.” He continued, “I think if somebody like me entered, it would kind of harm the game. I’m not a player and with the long, great history MLB has, I don’t think it would be good for [the game]. But it’s fun and I’m happy it’s come up. It’s fun to have conversations like that. So I’m definitely happy about it.”

Though his power is the stuff of legend, Suzuki never hit more than 15 home runs in a season and reached double-digit home runs just three times in 18 seasons. He has never participated in the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby. However, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports, Suzuki was invited to the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium in 2008, but didn’t go because he injured his finger.

When asked if he could choose a pitcher to throw to him if he participated in the Derby, Suzuki answered with Mark Buehrle, per Divish. Indeed, in 70 plate appearances against Buehrle, Ichiro hit .409, though he had only three extra-base hits, including one home run.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will be held on July 16 at Nationals Park as part of the All-Star Game festivities. While Suzuki didn’t outright decline participating, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to see him in the Derby. We’re also not going to see Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, or Mike Trout in the Derby.

Giants place Jeff Samardzija on 10-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation

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Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija is heading back to the disabled list, per a team announcement on Sunday. Samardzija was diagnosed with another bout of inflammation in his right shoulder and will undergo further evaluation this week, though surgery is not currently being considered. A concrete timetable for his return to the rotation will not be set until the club knows the extent of his injury.

At this point in the season, Samardzija has seen far more time on the DL than he has on the mound. This will be his third trip there after missing a collective nine weeks with a pectoral strain and right shoulder rightness since the start of the year. When healthy, he put up a 1-5 record in 10 starts with a 6.25 ERA, 5.2 BB/9 and 6.0 SO/9 through just 44 2/3 innings in 2018.

In a corresponding move, infielder Kelby Tomlinson has been recalled from Triple-A Sacramento. Southpaw Derek Holland will slot into Samardzija’s spot in the rotation; he currently carries a 5-8 record across 18 starts and a 4.09 ERA, 3.4 B/9 and 9.1 SO/9 over 101 1/3 innings in 2018.