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Down by seven

Now that hes no longer an active player [url=]Derek Watt Jersey[/url] , maybe Ichiro Suzuki wants to start swinging for the fences.

How about at next months Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities in Washington?

What began as light-hearted banter among Seattle Mariners coaches grew into something that caused a stir in the clubhouse before Wednesday nights game against the New York Yankees.

Hes got power and hes been launching balls into the seats, Mariners manager Scott Servais said. A couple of coaches said the other day, `You know, no one wants to do this Home Run Derby. Why dont we just send Ichiro? Hed be awesome.

The idea gained momentum when Servais mentioned it on a radio show Wednesday, and suddenly a new Twitter hashtag was born (hash)IchiForDC.

Not officially retired but unlikely to appear in another major league game, the Japanese-born Suzuki shifted to a new role with Seattle as special assistant to the chairman in early May after batting .205 in 15 games this season. The 44-year-old travels with the team and is in uniform for games, helping out with batting practice and other drills while keeping a locker in the clubhouse.

Even though hes still in game shape, Suzuki didnt seem to be entertaining the idea of throwing his hat in the ring for the annual power contest.

Im not a player (anymore) and just the long, great history that MLB has [url=]Stefan Charles Jersey[/url] , I dont think it would be good for it, Suzuki said through a translator. But I think its fun and Im happy that its come up.

Servais was happy the concept was being discussed, even if it was nothing more than a joke.

This is really good because hes been giving me a hard time so Im really glad to throw this back in his lap, he said with a grin.

Suzuki, the 2001 AL MVP and Rookie of the Year, found humor in the situation but promised revenge on Servais.

Its the funniest thing hes said this first half of the year, Suzuki said. Im definitely going to get him back. Im going to continue to get him.

Suzuki has 3,089 big league hits, but only 117 of those were home runs. Despite reaching double-digit homers in just three of his 18 major league seasons [url=]Kenny Stabler Jersey[/url] , Suzuki often displayed surprising power in batting practice and it was widely believed he could have clubbed a lot more over the fence if he tried.

But the 10-time All-Star maintained his unorthodox, slashing swing throughout his career, leading the league in hits seven times.

Right now Im eating two hamburgers at lunch, and now that this Home Run Derby thing came up Ill have to up it to three cheeseburgers for lunch, get some more power, he quipped.

If Suzuki did try his hand against some of the games top sluggers in the nations capital, however, he knows who hed want pitching to him.

Mark Buehrle, he said [url=]Jermon Bushrod Jersey[/url] , after a long, contemplative pause.

Suzuki was 27 for 66 (.409) against the left-hander, who won 214 games over 16 seasons.

The Bears have a shiny new toy on defense now, so it takes some of the shine off Roquan Smith.

But their first-round pick is also on track to play some role in Sundays opener against the Packers, after missing most of training camp and the preseason following his protracted contract negotiation and a hamstring strain.

鈥淭here hasn鈥檛 been a setback,鈥?Bears coach Matt Nagy said of Smith, via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. 鈥淗e鈥檚 been going well. Again, let鈥檚 keep being cautiously optimistic with him. But we like where he鈥檚 at.

Nagy acknowledged that Smith might not be ready for an every down role, after getting such a limited amount of work in the preseason.

Who knows? It could be the entire game. It could be 10 plays. I don鈥檛 have that answer [url=]Alec Ogletree Jersey[/url] ,鈥?Nagy said.

After showing up for camp 29 days late, Smiuth got six practices in before his left hamstring strain. He hasnt practiced fully since. It would probably get more attention, except the Bears acquired some guy named Khalil Mack, who is definitely expected to have a role, even though he hasnt participated in the preseason either.

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