FULL COUNT: Tanaka hot, Ichiro gets historic hit, JAs have mixed plate of action

Kensuke Tanaka has been a nice addition to the San Francisco Giants since being called up on July 9, providing a spark, a smile, and spectacular catches in left and brilliant base running. He’s batting .276 with four runs, three walks, two RBIs and one steal in 12 games while platooning in left field with Jeff Francoeur.

There’s mixed news to report regarding the JAs from Hawai‘i. Jerome Williams (5-6) is scheduled to start for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 26 in Oakland, the second of a four-game series with the Athletics.

Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Brandon League gave up two hits and a walk on July 21 followed another hit on July 23, but at least he’s not giving up massive amounts of runs like he did the first half.

Kansas City Royals’ starter Jeremy Guthrie (9-7) surrendered five runs on 10 hits over six innings against the Detroit Tigers on July 20. It’s the third time in four starts he’s given up five runs.

Kurt Suzuki has been relegated to backup duty with Wilson Ramos entrenched as the Washington Nationals starting catcher while Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney is 4-for-15 since the All-Star break.

Last but not least, Shane Victorino has been battling back and hamstring injuries all season, but the Boston Red Sox outfielder is hitting .284 and is doing much better than last year.

Also in Boston, closer Koji Uehara retired all three batters he faced, notching two strikeouts, to earn his ninth save on July 23. His setup man Junichi Tazawa (4-3) has 45 holds, 50 strikeouts and a 1.17 WHIP.

Over in New York, Hiroki Kuroda (9-6) threw seven innings of two-run ball against the Red Sox on Saturday, giving up five hits and one walk while striking out four for the Yankees. Ichiro Suzuki singled in the second inning of the Yankees-Rangers game on July 23, becoming the third active player with 2,700 career hits. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are the others.

The Yankees also designated first baseman Travis Ishikawa on July 11, but he elected to become a free agent two days later. Ishikawa struck out twice in his only game in the pinstripes on July 8.

Yu Darvish (9-4) looked sharp in his first start back from the disabled list on July 22, tossing 6.1 scoreless innings for the Texas Rangers. With a 2.86 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, he is continuing his dominance in the second half. Fellow All-Star and Seattle Mariners starterHisashi

Iwakuma (9-4) pitched seven strong innings July 20, allowing just two runs on seven hits and two walks against the Houston Astros while striking out seven.

Sporting a .360 OBP, Milwaukee Brewers leadoff man Norichika Aoki returns to the lineup from an elbow injury at an opportune time with Ryan Braun suspended for the remainder of the season for PED use. Shane Victorino, a teammate of Braun’s on two WBC teams, told ESPNBoston.com “It’s unfortunate for the game. Very unfortunate for the game of baseball.”

Drew Morita, a Yonsei from the island of Kaua‘i, grew up rooting for the Oakland A’s but is now a loyal San Francisco Giants fan. He writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at drew_morita@yahoo.com.

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