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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 Texas Rangers or Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees were 9-9 against the Orioles 9-9, who finished two games back in the division, and held a 4-3 advantage over the two-time AL champion Rangers.

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 (PFP) 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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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 

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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

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USA TODAY Sports

David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."

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