- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GLENDALE, Ariz. | Los Angeles Dodgers players said they were happy and relieved Wednesday about the pending sale of the team to an ownership group including former Lakers star Magic Johnson.

“Great day for the Dodgers,” said center fielder Matt Kemp, the runner-up for NL MVP last season. “As Magic used to say, the Dodgers were the team that used to run L.A. Definitely, we were going to have more fans out there this year anyway. Now, there’s another reason to have the fans turn out.”

The deal to sell the franchise for a record $2 billion was revealed Tuesday night, just hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three finalists for an intended auction. Besides Johnson, the ownership group includes longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten.

Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, would become the controlling owner.


Players said they were relieved that the search for an

Towner had finally been resolved and that they were hopeful that the franchise can move forward amid newfound stability.

“If I’m a player, I’m excited,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Magic is coming in. They’ve been having to deal with all the negatives. As soon as you hear the name Magic Johnson, it turns into a positive. There’s positive energy around the ball club, around the city.”

Suzuki shines; Ackley’s bat sends Mariners

TOKYO — Ichiro Suzuki gave his fans in Japan a performance to cheer about.

Suzuki had four hits in his return home, Dustin Ackley homered and singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning, and the Seattle Mariners beat the Oakland Athletics 3-1 Wednesday night in baseball’s season opener.

“It was very special to open in Japan,” said Suzuki, who spent nine seasons in Osaka with the Orix Blue Wave. “I wanted to have fun and give the fans something at this special time and wanted to share a special moment with them.”

Felix Hernandez combined with two relievers on a six-hitter. The continent switch didn’t help the A’s, who became the first team to lose eight straight openers since Philadelphia from 1985-92, according to STATS LLC.

Around the majors

REDS: Cincinnati setup man Nick Masset will start the season on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. Wednesday’s news comes five days after Cincinnati announced that closer Ryan Madson would have surgery.

BLUE JAYS: Omar Vizquel was added to Toronto’s roster a month before his 45th birthday, making the backup infielder the oldest active position player in the majors. The 11-time Gold Glove winner had signed a minor league contract Jan. 23. He spent the previous two years with the Chicago White Sox.

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