Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Cliff Lee’s best curve ball yet


BASEBALL/Cliff Lee threw his best curve ball of the year this week, freezing the anxious New York Yankees and Texas Rangers in their tracks by deciding to rejoin the Philadelphia Phillies.

The decision came out of left field, as the Rangers and Yankees did all the public wooing of the 2008 American League Cy Young winner, while the Phillies worked the back channels.

The Yankees offered seven years, the Rangers were believed willing to put six seasons on the table for the 31-year-old lefty from nearby Arkansas who helped them reach their first World Series.

The Phillies won his services with a five-year deal worth a reported $120 million with an option for a sixth season.

from Raw Japan:

Ichiro: Japan’s greatest sporting export

Japan’s Ichiro Suzuki underlined his position as his country’s greatest sporting export after shattering one of Major League Baseball’s oldest records.

The Seattle Mariners outfielder was described as a "Hercules" by fellow players after becoming the first man to record 200 hits for nine straight seasons.