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A-Rod: ‘It’s just a shame’ Clemens, Bonds aren’t in Hall of Fame

Alex Rodriguez wants Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rodriguez, a three-time AL MVP and a current Sunday Night Baseball analyst for ESPN, believes his own case for Cooperstown will be strengthened if Clemens and Bonds are eventually enshrined. All three players faced steroid accusations in the past, and A-Rod was given a season-long suspension in 2014.

“Of course I want them to get in, because that would mean that I have an opportunity to get in one day,” Rodriguez said while making a Wednesday appearance on ESPN’s First Take.

Rodriguez retired after the 2016 season and won’t be eligible for induction until 2022. However, his candidacy is constantly on the 43-year-old’s mind.

“Look, I pray every day I get a chance to get in,” Rodriguez said. “The Hall of Fame is the ultimate place.

“If you think about Roger and Barry specifically … If you stopped their career at the age of 33 or 34, they were both first ballot and then the noise (about PEDs) started. For me, it’s just a shame. I am certainly cheering for both of them. I like them both very much. They’re both friends, and I’m in their corner.”

Clemens and Bonds both fell short again of the 75 percent needed to enter the Hall as voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (59.5 percent of voters put Clemens on their ballot, and Bonds received 59.1 percent).

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, played for the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees during a career that spanned 22 seasons. He finished with 696 career home runs, which ranks fourth all-time in MLB history, and compiled a 117.8 WAR in 2,784 games.

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Ichiro Suzuki signs minor league deal with Mariners to play in Japan

Ichiro Suzuki is expected to make the Mariners’ 28-man roster for the Japan Series.

Outfielder Ichiro Suzuki has signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, according to a report from USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale.

Suzuki signed a one-year deal worth $750,000 if he makes the Mariners’ roster, reports Nightengale.

It is expected that Suzuki will be part of the Mariners’ 28-man roster when they open the 2019 regular season in Japan. Seattle and the Oakland A’s will play a two-game series on March 20-21 overseas.

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto echoed the same sentiment in October when discussing Suzuki’s role in the Japan Series.

“I would stop short of guaranteeing it, because we have to make sure he’s healthy. But he’ll be on our roster,” Dipoto said. “We feel strongly that it’s the right thing to do for our franchise and the right thing to do for the NPB and believe it’s the right thing to do for Ichiro. What happens thereafter remains to be seen.”

Suzuki last played in May 2018 before transitioning to the team’s front office as a special assistant to the chairman. He continued to take batting practice with the team throughout the season.

The 45-year-old has 3,089 career hits with a .311/.355/.402 line. Suzuki played for the Orix BlueWave in Japan for nine seasons before coming to Major League Baseball in 2001. He played with the Mariners until 2012 before being traded to the New York Yankees. Suzuki went on to spend three seasons with the Miami Marlins before returning to the Mariners in 2018. He’s also a 10-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove winner.

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