D’Backs reach two-year, $3M deal with John McDonald

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From Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com comes word that the Diamondbacks have reached agreement on a two-year, $3 million contract with veteran utility infielder John McDonald.

McDonald batted just .169/.222/.203 in 63 plate appearances after joining Arizona in late August, but he’s still a capable defender at the age of 37 and will provide the Snakes with insurance at shortstop in case Stephen Drew (fractured ankle) isn’t back to 100 percent by Opening Day next April.

McDonald appeared in 26 games at third base, 21 games at second base and 38 games at shortstop during the 2011 season. He’s also seen time in the outfield in recent years.

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.