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Report: Mariners will give Ichiro a chance to make roster for series in Japan next season

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Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that outfielder and current special assistant Ichiro Suzuki will have a chance to earn a spot on the Mariners’ expanded 28-man roster for their season-opening series against the Athletics in Tokyo, Japan which will take place March 20-21 next year.

Suzuki, who turns 45 years old later this month, hit an abysmal .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 this season. On May 3, Ichiro decided to call it quits on the season to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but it seems as if he still wants to continue his playing career.

Ichiro almost certainly won’t have a chance to make the Mariners’ regular 25-man roster once the club heads back to the U.S.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”