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Diamond Digest: Major League Baseball’s top story lines this week

Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is hugged by Dee Gordon after tripling off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016 in Denver. The hit was the 3,000th of Ichiro’s major league career.
Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is hugged by Dee Gordon after tripling off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin in the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016 in Denver. The hit was the 3,000th of Ichiro’s major league career. The Associated Press

Here are five interesting stories in Major League Baseball this week:

Ichiro triples to reach 3,000 hits

Ichiro Suzuki defined his career with speed and sharp hits. It was only fitting he flashed both in his historic moment.

Ichiro lined a tripled off the wall for his 3,000th career hit in the major leagues, becoming the 30th player to reach the milestone as the Miami Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 10-7 Sunday.

Ichiro, 42, got his big hit in the seventh inning. He became the first player born in Japan to reach 3,000 in the majors and joined Paul Molitor, his former hitting coach in Seattle, as the only players to hit the mark with a triple.

“I wanted to see it go over the fence, but after I heard that Paul Molitor was the other person to do it, I was glad it didn’t go over,” Ichiro said. “I have a special relationship with him and having something like this, that is the same thing he accomplished, makes it more special.”

Machado hits three out in rare fashion

Hitting three home runs in a game isn’t that rare. Doing so in each of the first three innings? That’s extremely rare.

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on Sunday became the second player in major-league history to homer in the first, second and third innings, driving in a career-high seven runs in a 10-2 rout of the host Chicago White Sox.

Machado hit a two-run homer in the first and a three-run shot in the second off James Shields. Machado hit another two-run homer in the third off Matt Albers.

According to STATS, the only other player to do that was Carl Reynolds of the White Sox on July 2, 1930, at the Yankees.

Rodriguez’s career coming to a close

Alex Rodriguez, one of the most prolific hitters and polarizing figures in baseball history, plans to take his final at-bat with the New York Yankees on Friday night and then become a special adviser and instructor with the team next year.

A three-time American League MVP, Rodriguez, 41, and the club made the announcement before Sunday’s 3-2 victory over Cleveland.

Rodriguez, who sat out the 2014 season while serving a performance-enhancing drug suspension, will play against Tampa Bay at Yankee Stadium and then be released following Friday’s game. New York will pay him the remainder of the $27 million he’s owed as part of his $275 million, 10-year contract.

Will Lincecum accept demotion?

Tim Lincecum was designated for assignment on Saturday by the Los Angeles Angels, bringing into question the professional future for the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

The Angels made the move a day after Lincecum allowed six runs in the first inning of a 6-4 loss Friday in Seattle, Lincecum’s hometown. The former San Francisco Giants star is 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts with Los Angeles in his return from left hip surgery last September.

With the Giants, Lincecum won three World Series titles. Now with the Angels, the team is hoping he’ll accept an assignment to Triple A.

Kershaw works to return this season

Clayton Kershaw resumed baseball activities on Sunday with a game of catch as he continued his attempt to return to the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.

Sidelined with a mild herniated disc since his last start on June 26, Kershaw (11-4, 1.79 ERA) was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday and is not eligible to return until Aug. 27.

With less than two months left in the season, the Dodgers plan to start their three-time Cy Young Award winner as soon as he’s ready and cleared by team doctors, no matter if its a regular-season or playoff game.

Compiled by Noel Harris with information from The Associated Press

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