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Suzuki makes triumphant return to Japan...Rays give rookie a 6-year contract... Bucks forward Mirotic is out indefinitely

March 20, 2019

TOKYO (AP) — Ichiro Suzuki drew the loudest ovation back home in Japan and Domingo Santana delivered the biggest hit, launching a grand slam that led the Seattle Mariners over the Oakland Athletics 9-7 Wednesday in the Major League Baseball opener. The game in Tokyo marked the earliest opening day ever. At 45, Ichiro became the second-oldest position player to start an opener, only a few months younger than Atlanta’s Julio Franco was in 2004.

UNDATED (AP) — Rookie Brandon Lowe, who made his big league debut last August, has agreed to a $24 million, six-year contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. The 24-year-old infielder and outfielder has just 58 days of major league service. Also, right-hander Ryan Pressly and the Houston Astros have agreed to a $20.4 million, three-year contract. Pressley would have been eligible for free agency after this season.

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic (NEE’-koh-luh MEER’-uh-tihch) is out indefinitely after an examination of his left thumb revealed a sprain and a fracture. Since being acquired by the Bucks on Feb. 7, Mirotic has played in 14 games with three starts. He is averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game for the NBA-leading Bucks.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Girardi has missed the past five games. Tampa Bay also is without defenseman Anton Stralman, who has missed the past six games with a lower-body injury. The Lightning have wrapped up first place in the NHL and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and still have nine games left.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bears say they have re-signed veteran punter Pat O’Donnell to a two-year contract. O’Donnell has spent all five of his seasons with Chicago and is the franchise’s leader with a 44.9-yard career gross average. ’Donnell averaged 45 yards per punt last season and tied a career high with 28 punts inside the 20. The Bears also agreed to a one-year contract with backup quarterback Tyler Bray.