The Mariners' next general manager, whoever takes over for Pat Gillick, will have some daunting challenges. \nShould he try to re-sign Mike Cameron? How about Arthur Rhodes? \nShould he trade or keep Freddy Garcia? Can he move Jeff Cirillo? \nAll of those may pale in importance with how the new head man handles negotiations with three-time All-Star right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. \nIchiro, who signed a three-year contract before the 2001 season, isn't a free agent and can't become one before the end of the 2006 season. He's not going to be traded. But he is eligible for salary arbitration, meaning that if no deal can be struck, an arbiter will determine the player's salary next February. \nAnd, agent Tony Attanasio said yesterday, Ichiro would not find that acceptable. \n"We are not looking for a one-year deal. Or a two- or three- or five- or 10-year deal," Attanasio said. "What we are looking for is fair representation of what the club thinks this player is worth. \n"If we cannot agree to terms, if they force it into arbitration, Ichiro will never voluntarily sign another contract with them." \nThat being said, Attanasio expects a deal to be struck and arbitration to be avoided. The agent was talking to the club yesterday about Ichiro and his other clients, Mark McLemore, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Ryan Franklin, and will continue to do so. \nBut he made it clear Ichiro doesn't want to go to arbitration. Not now, not ever. \n"He would consider that such a slap in the face," Attanasio said. "A real loss of face." \nIchiro, who made US$3 million in 2003 plus salary bonuses that nearly doubled that, has been one of baseball's brightest stars since coming to Seattle from the Orix BlueWave of the Pacific League in Japan. He won the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards in 2001, and he's started three consecutive All-Star Games. \nWhat the Mariners have to decide is how that plays financially. Is he worth Manny Ramirez/Shawn Green/Sammy Sosa money, something in the US$16 million-US$18 million range? Is he more like Larry Walker or Ken Griffey Jr., down in the US$10 million-US$12 million range? \n"Ichiro knows the number," Attanasio said without stating it. \nThe number has probably gone down some, with Ichiro having had successive seasons with second-half falloffs. After hitting .350 as a rookie and winning the MVP, he fell to .321 in 2002 and to .312 this season.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first