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5/21/2011: Ichiro Suzuki, Junichi Tazawa, Daisuke Matsuzaka

by on May.21, 2011 @ 5:39 pm, under MLB

From games on the 20th:

Seattle Mariners 4 - San Diego Padres 1
Ichiro Suzuki start in right and batted first.  He went 0-for-4: strike out swinging, fly out to center, ground out to the pitcher, ground out to the pitcher.

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Salem Red Sox 7 - Winston-Salem Dash 4
Junichi Tazawa started the game and gave up 4 runs over 4 innings of work.  Final line: 4 IP, 18 BF, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR.  This was Tazawa's first official start since his right elbow surgery April 2010.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka told reporters on the 20th he was caught off-guard when he heard that Hideki Okajima was designated for assignment.

Matsuzaka: "He told me he was going to the minors. ... I only found out today that it was something worse. ... I know this kind of thing happens a lot in America, but it was just so sudden. ... We worked together as two Japanese people so I did feel a connection with him. ... I think there will be clubs that want Okajima and I hope things work out for him."

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Marc Kroon told reporters on the 19th that he decided he won't return to Japan, even if he gets released in the US and an NPB club comes knocking on his door.

Kroon: "I'm no longer thinking about trying to return to Japan. ... I really wanted to retire in Japan. ... I didn't receive a single offer from an NPB club during the off-season.  That was really upsetting. ... If an NPB team were to lose a player now to injury and came to me with an offer, I'd have to ask why they had to wait for an injury in order to offer me a deal."

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Akinori Otsuka and Trevor Hoffman signed autographs at Petco Park on the 20th in order to raise money for relief efforts in northern Japan (Hoffman's idea).  Otsuka also threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Seattle Mariners - San Diego Padres game.