Free agents to play exhibitions against Japanese amateurs


Baseball free agents will play two exhibition games this week against a Japanese amateur team.

The Major League Baseball Players Association says the games against JR East will take place at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The games will be open to media and scouts but not the public.

More than four dozen players remain unsigned among the 166 who exercised their right to become free agents last November. The players’ association opened a training camp for free agents at the IMG Academy two weeks ago.

JR East is sponsored by Japan Railway, and players are considered amateurs who are paid as company employees.

The players’ association announced the games Monday.

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Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

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Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.