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Ichiro Suzuki ready for first playoffs in decade

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Ichiro Suzuki ready for first playoffs in decade

NEW YORK (AP) Ichiro Suzuki has spent a decade of Octobers watching the baseball playoffs, shouting at his TV like so many fans.

Celebrating an AL East championship Thursday night with his new teammates, he noticed life is different now that he's with the New York Yankees.

``Usually that would be the end of my season,'' Suzuki said Friday night before a workout at Yankee Stadium. ``What I've realized is here, for the Yankees, is that it's the starting point.''

Acquired from the Seattle Mariners in late July, Suzuki helped spur the Yankees to their 13th division title in 17 years with a special September. On Sunday, he most likely will be playing in the outfield for Game 1 of the division series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees were 9-9 against the Orioles, who finished two games back in the division.

Manager Joe Girardi has until Sunday at 10 a.m. to submit his playoff roster and on Friday night all he would guarantee - giving a thumbs up - is that CC Sabathia (15-6) will start Game 1 on the road. But it's safe to say he will give plenty of action to Suzuki, the Japanese star who will turn 39 on Oct. 22. When making the trade, the Yankees planned to rest Suzuki against left-handers.

``We had talked to him about that he might sit against some lefties for us. But he got so hot that it was almost impossible to take him out of the lineup,'' Girardi said. ``He played the last 15 days in a row, 16 games, and he was huge for us during that time. I don't anticipate us sitting him.''

The 10-time All-Star came to New York hitting a career-low .261 and with a reputation for being a malcontent in the Seattle clubhouse. He dismissed all that immediately, impressing the Yankees with his knowledge of English, sense of humor and a remarkable stretch at the plate.

He helped carry the Yankees through a thrilling September run - hitting .385 (35 for 91) with 11 RBIs for the month - and New Work won the division on the last day of the regular season.

He's fun,'' Derek Jeter said last week. ``In order to do what he has for that many years, you have to have fun.''

The Yankees had some fun Friday night, working out in an eerily quiet stadium under the lights after a day and a half off to celebrate.

``Crazy to be out here at night time,'' Sabathia said walking onto the field. ``Weird.''

After stretching, pitchers took fielding practice just as they do during spring training. The only sounds were the popping of balls in gloves, some chatter and the rumbling of the elevated 4 train beyond the right-field wall.

During batting practice, the Braves-Cardinals wild-card game played on the video board and players in the outfield turned and watched as fans in Atlanta littered the field with trash after a controversial infield fly call.

Center fielder Curtis Granderson said it was tough to tell if the call looked correct seeing it on TV, but as an outfielder on the play, his thought was ``catch the ball.''

Due to a one year scheduling change, the Yankees will start the division series on the road, even though they have the No. 1 seed throughout the AL playoffs because their league-best 95-67 record. There were two travel itineraries on each player's chair in the clubhouse. First baseman Mark Teixeira said it doesn't matter.

``We're going to have to win some games on the road to get to the promised land anyway,'' Teixeira said.

Teixeira took at-bats in a simulated game to work on his timing. He played in only one game in September because of a left calf strain, then went 2 for 16 in three games in October.

Another player who missed considerable time to injury was Andy Pettitte (5-4). Back in the big leagues after taking a year off, he broke his lower left leg when he was hit by a hard drive on June 27 and didn't return until Sept. 19. The lefty made three starts in September and gave up only three runs in 16 2-3 innings.

The winningest pitcher in postseason history said he had an idea when he would pitch but wouldn't say if he'd be in road grays or pinstripes.

``That might be a dead giveaway,'' he said.

NOTE: INF Jayson Nix ran the bases after batting practice and hit in the simulated game with Teixiera. He's been out with a strained hip and likely will be left off the first-round roster.

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

Manny Machado could very well be playing in his final game in an Orioles uniform Tuesday night when he takes the field for the 89th Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are now in the driver's seat as a favorite to land the All-Star shortstop. 

Machado, 26, has gone back and forth on what he does and does not know as front office deals develop and speculation continues to grow. One thing he has made clear is that the rumors have not detracted from his enjoyment of being an All-Star.

Machado is signed through the end of the season, but the Orioles intend to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

For the latest news and conversation surrounding Machado's status and the Orioles, follow along on Twitter

RELATED LINKS: 

2018 MLB All-Star Guide 

Bryce Harper reflects on his baseball career 

Best and worst ASG uniforms 

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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.

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