UPDATE: Change of plans. Yonder Alonso’s hand injury hasn’t gotten any better, so the Padres announced that they’re placing him on the DL to make room for Maybin and Blanks will stick around.
San Diego center fielder Cameron Maybin is off the disabled list after missing nearly two months with a wrist injury and to make room on the roster the Padres demoted Kyle Blanks to Triple-A.
Based strictly on performance it’s tough to argue that Blanks deserves the trip back to the minors, as his .796 OPS in 36 games ranks second on the entire Padres team behind only Carlos Quentin at .816. However, with Quentin and Maybin starting every day in the outfield the Padres would apparently rather use Chris Denorfia as the right-handed-hitting platoon partner for Will Venable.
Blanks is hurt by having a minor-league option remaining, but it’s hard to imagine the Padres not calling him back up relatively soon. As for Maybin, he was very productive on a nine-game rehab assignment, but was struggling before being placed on the DL and has hit just .233 with a .633 OPS in 157 games since the beginning of last season.
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.