Cardinals demote Mitchell Boggs to Triple-A, call up prospect Carlos Martinez

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Mitchell Boggs has gone from taking over for Jason Motte as the Cardinals’ fill-in closer to being demoted to Triple-A.

The final straw came last night, as Boggs walked the only two batters he faced to give him more walks (12) than strikeouts (10) and 31 total baserunners allowed in 10.2 innings overall this season. Last year Boggs threw 73 innings with a 2.21 ERA and he had a combined 3.08 ERA in 201 innings from 2010-2012. Boggs actually went from fill-in closer to Triple-A demotion within the span of three weeks in 2011, although his struggles weren’t nearly as lengthy or pronounced back then.

To take Boggs’ spot on the roster and in the bullpen the Cardinals called up 21-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez, who’ll be getting his first taste of the big leagues after ranking among the top-50 prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com heading into the season. Martinez has been a starter throughout his minor-league career, posting a 2.74 ERA and 277 strikeouts in 260 innings, but he’ll be used out of the bullpen initially in St. Louis to give manager Mike Matheny another setup option in front of Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal.

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.