For American ballplayers in Japan: uncertainty

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The crisis in Japan is not a baseball story, but baseball is Japan’s biggest sport and this is a baseball blog so to the extent there is anything worthwhile about those two worlds intersecting, I’m inclined to link it.

The latest: a story about former Blue Jay Randy Ruiz, who plays for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, who call Sendai — Japan’s hardest-hit city — home.

The Golden Eagles weren’t immediately affected by the earthquake/tsunami, as they were playing several hundred miles away at the time. But Ruiz’s account gives us at least a small glimpse into what’s going on with foreigners in Japan to play baseball.  Confusion mostly. Hard decisions about whether to stay or go.

Stuff about American ballplayers in Japan is not essential reading given how serious the situation is on the ground, but it’s interesting all the same.

Scott Feldman underwent season-ending knee surgery

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The Reds announced on Tuesday that starter Scott Feldman underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The right-hander was placed on the disabled list with knee inflammation on Friday.

Feldman, 34, made 21 starts this season, posting a 4.77 ERA with a 93/35 K/BB ratio in 111 1/3 innings. He’s a free agent after the season but may have to settle for a minor league deal going into 2018 given his age and recent injury woes.

MLB to implement code of conduct for fans next year

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Following an embarrassing scene at Fenway Park earlier this year in which Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was taunted with racial slurs and had peanuts thrown at him, Major League Baseball will implement a universal code of conduct for fans at major league ballparks starting next season, ESPN’s Scott Lauber reports.

MLB spokesman Michael Teevan said, “We are working with the clubs on security and fan conduct initiatives at all of our ballparks. We will be issuing a league-wide fan code of conduct for the 2018 season.”

As Lauber notes, every team has its own code of conduct but some are more thorough than others. The Red Sox added “hate speech” to their code of conduct after the Jones incident and Major League Baseball, unsurprisingly, wants to make sure fans at every ballpark are clear on what behaviors will and will not be tolerated.

Since the Jones incident, Major League Baseball has been encouraging teams to be more inclusive, though Kennedy clarified that “there’s not been any directive or mandate.”