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nated once more at Dover

  • 09 May
    导出博客文章MIAMI -- Closing in on 3,000 hits, Ichiro Suzuki isnt inclined to stop there.
    Hes 42, and for some time has said -- in Japanese and English -- he wants to
    play until at least 50.Hes joking, right?Probably not, says New York Mets
    manager Terry Collins, who managed in Japan and is a friend of Suzukis. Ill tell
    you one thing about the Japanese -- they dont kid. And if anybody could do it,
    hes probably one guy who could.Its hard to argue against Suzukis chances, given
    this years upswing in his career as a fourth outfielder for the Miami Marlins.
    Despite flecks of gray in his short black hair, hes playing with youthful
    zeal.Through Friday, Suzuki was four hits shy of 3,000. His batting average was
    .341 in 179 at-bats, putting him on course to finish above .300 for the first
    time since 2010, and he had an OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) of .814,
    better than his career average. He was 8 for 10 in stolen bases and hadnt
    committed an error in the outfield.What Ichiro has been able to do right now is
    phenomenal, Marlins manager Don Mattingly says. We talk about his age but we
    really shouldnt, because you just watch him play, and if he used that hair dye
    Keith Hernandez uses, we wouldnt know he wasnt 30.The approaching milestone has
    brought a fresh wave of attention to Japans most famous athlete. In his 16th
    major league season, hell become the 30th player to reach 3,000, and only
    all-time hits leader Pete Rose did it faster.Suzuki played for nine years in
    Japans Pacific League, totaling 1,278 hits, before coming to the majors as a
    27-year-old rookie with the Seattle Mariners in 2001. Despite the late start,
    hell soon join Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Eddie Collins and Paul Molitor as the only
    players with at least 3,000 hits, 500 stolen bases and a career .300 average.A
    year ago, it looked as if Suzuki might not ever reach 3,000. Pressed into
    everyday duty because of injuries to other Marlins, he batted a career-low .229,
    and his .279 slugging percentage ranked 230th and last in among hitters with at
    least 325 plate appearances. Worn out, he went 12 for 97 (.124) over his final
    36 games, and it was certain whether Miami -- or anyone else -- would bring him
    back for another season.This year hes playing less and playing better, the
    part-time role his only concession to age.I tell him every day hes the best
    player in the world, says Jose Fernandez, the Marlins 23-year-old ace. Its just
    an honor to watch him play and be a part of it.Suzuki is the second-oldest
    player in the majors, trailing only 43-year-old Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon. He
    has made it this far with a rigorous training regimen that has been his hallmark
    since he broke into the majors.He became a superstar in the United States and
    never changed his routine, says Reds manager Bryan Price, who was the pitching
    coach in Seattle during Suzukis first six seasons there. He was steadfast and
    kept working hard for what he got. Ive been very impressed by that.Suzukis
    fastidious nature is apparent even while hes seated at his locker, trimming
    loose threads from his jersey or using a lint roller to clean the carpet, and he
    exercises the same discipline in his workout routine. He has his own weight
    equipment at the ballpark, and stretches perhaps more than any player in the
    history of the sport, whether its hours before a game in the clubhouse or in the
    on-deck circle.The way he goes about his business and teaches all of us young
    guys, hes a role model you want to follow, Fernandez says.The last major leaguer
    to play past his 50th birthday was Minnie Minoso, who took the field in two
    games for the White Sox at age 54 in 1980. Suzuki joined the Marlins last
    season, and was talking even then of playing until at least 50.One day he and
    Fernandez discussed the idea.I looked at him like ... Fernandez says, scrunching
    his face in an expression of disbelief. But now I dont doubt it at all. Look at
    him. Hes playing perfect. Hes doing everything he has been doing for the last
    20-something years. So why not? Keep doing it.
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    Jimmie Johnson held off a teammate, passed a pair of Hall of Famers, and
    dominated once more at Dover. China
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    Liam Williams could see his hopes of playing for Wales next season relying on a
    wildcard selection if he joins Aviva Premiership champions Saracens.It has been
    reported in Wales that 37 times-capped full-back or wing Williams has agreed a
    two-year deal with Saracens from next term.Saracens have made no comment, but
    speculation is rife that a swoop for 25-year-old Williams could be announced in
    January.If that materialises, then Scarlets star Williams could find himself
    competing for one of four wildcard places available in 2017-2018 under Welsh
    Rugby Union rules for players who ply their trade outside Wales.Speaking on
    Tuesday, Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins said: Weve said we want to keep our
    best players in Wales, and Liam is certainly one of those.We would love to keep
    him in Wales.I am sure we will fight in every way possible to keep our best
    players, and Liam is one of them.The WRU senior player selection policy
    currently limits the number of wildcard players to three for aany one
    international campaign.dddddddddddd It affects players who play outside Wales if
    they have rejected a contract offer in Wales.Wildcard selections in Wales
    current autumn Test squad are Harlequins centre Jamie Roberts, Northampton wing
    George North and Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau.Full-back Leigh Halfpenny,
    meanwhile, could also find himself on the list of so-called captured players
    next year if he signs a new contract with his current club Toulon, rather than
    return to Wales.Jenkins added: We have said from day one that we want our best
    players playing in Wales. Leigh comes into that category, and so does Liam.We
    would love Leigh back, and we would love to keep Liam, there is no doubting
    that.If Leigh stays [in Toulon], if Liam goes, it does become an issue,
    obviously, but at some point in time it is an opportunity for other players as
    well. ' ' '