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M's Ichiro retires after series in Tokyo

(AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) At times, it seemed as if he'd go on hitting forever.

But on Thursday night, a player who defined baseball at its very best on two continents for a generation, took his final swing.

The great Ichiro has said "sayonara."


Snell, Rays agree to $50M, 5-year deal

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell will go into his first career opening-day start with a lot more financial security than he envisioned just a few days ago.

The 26-year-old left-hander said Thursday he was almost certain he wouldn't receive the raise he felt he deserved until he hit arbitration next winter until he and the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to a $50 million, five-year contract that will keep him with the team through 2023.


Phillies' Harper hits first 2 homers

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) Bryce Harper has been playing catch-up since his free agency carried over into spring training.

With a week left until opening day, the Philadelphia Phillies' big-money addition looks ready to pay off.


Sabathia back on mound after heart issue

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has returned to the mound for the first time since undergoing a heart procedure in December.

Sabathia allowed one run and two hits over two innings on Thursday in a minor league exhibition game, striking out three for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Toledo, Detroit's Triple-A affiliate.


Cards, injured Carpenter being cautious

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Even as Matt Carpenter's return to Grapefruit League play is delayed, both the team and the third baseman insist the lingering back tightness is no big deal.

"If this was the middle of the season and these games counted I would be just working through some of the soreness and tightness that I'm going through, but I don't feel the need to do that and go back to 70 percent because I'm pushing through a spring training game," Carpenter said.


Braves give veteran P Tomlin minors deal

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) The Atlanta Braves have signed right-hander Josh Tomlin to a minor league contract with an invitation to the team's major league camp.

The 34-year-old Tomlin, who was released by Milwaukee on Wednesday, had a 6.14 ERA in 32 games, including nine starts, with Cleveland in 2018. Tomlin was 61-53 with a 4.77 ERA in nine seasons with the Indians.


Pence to start season with Rangers

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Veteran outfielder Hunter Pence is set to start the season with his hometown Texas Rangers.

Manager Chris Woodward told Pence on Thursday he will be on the 25-man roster as the team's fourth outfielder when the Rangers open the regular season at home next Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.


Trout plays full game day after deal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus likes to have his regulars play nine innings at least once in a spring training game and on Thursday, it was Mike Trout's turn against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"He's making all that money, he needs to play nine," Ausmus said.


MVP Betts plans to wait for free agency

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) Don't expect AL MVP Mookie Betts to agree to a long-term contract with the Boston Red Sox before he can become a free agent in late 2020.

Despite Mike Trout's $432 million, 12-year agreement with the Los Angeles Angels, Nolan Arenado's $260 million, eight-year deal with the Colorado Rockies and Alex Bregman's pending $100 million, six-year contract with the Houston Astros, Betts is content to remain on track for testing the market.