Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill is back from the disabled list after missing more than two months with a fractured hand that was initially expected to keep him out for 4-6 weeks.
Hill actually suffered the injury a week before being placed on the DL, as the Diamondbacks hadn’t determined that it was a fracture and allowed him to play through it. Now healthy, Hill went 9-for-24 (.375) in six games rehabbing at Triple-A.
In his absence the Diamondbacks used four different starters at second base, with Cliff Pennington and Willie Bloomquist basically splitting time there recently. Overall this season Arizona second basemen have hit .273 with a .704 OPS, which while decent is quite a dropoff from Hill hitting .304 with an .885 OPS since joining the Diamondbacks in mid-2011.
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.