Jose Bautista takes batting practice, nears activation

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Jose Bautista is finally making steady progress in his rehabilitation from left wrist inflammation.

According to Shi Davidi of Canada’s Sportsnet, the slugger was able to take live batting practice off Blue Jays manager John Farrell on Thursday at Rogers Centre in Toronto and is on track to begin a minor league rehab assignment early next week.

Bautista will spend Friday in recovery mode before participating in normal pregame workouts with his teammates on Saturday and Sunday. If he’s still feeling strong at that point, he should get clearance to head to one of the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates on Monday or Tuesday.

“Joey Bats” has been out of commission since mid-July. He has an .894 OPS and 27 homers this season.

Tigers, Royals to play a regular season game in Omaha next year

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Major League Baseball announced today that the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha, Nebraska next year to open the festivities for the College World Series.

The game will be played on Thursday, June 13, 2019 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha two days before the first game of the Series. It will be televised nationally by ESPN. TD Ameritrade Park has a seating capacity of 24,000, with the ability to expand to 35,000 spectators. Which, um, probably means this will be one of the larger crowds for the Royals next year if the club’s current trajectory continues.

This will be the fourth small-park, special occasion regular season game for Major League Baseball in recent years. hIn July 2016 the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins played at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for service members. Last August the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals played in the inaugural Little League Classic, which took place at Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There will be a second Little League Classic in Williamsport this August between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.