Jose Veras chooses Pirates over Giants, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, and Rays

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Reportedly offered minor-league contracts by as many as a half-dozen teams last week, reliever Jose Veras has signed with the Pirates, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

Veras chose the Pirates over the Giants, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, and Rays, with Rojas reporting that the right-hander will receive a base salary of $1 million if he makes the team and could earn an additional $500,000 in incentives.

Veras has a 4.25 ERA in 176 career innings, including a 3.75 ERA and 54/29 K/BB ratio in 48 innings for the Marlins last season. He has good raw stuff, with a mid-90s fastball and nearly a strikeout per inning, but has struggled to consistently throw strikes.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.