The Mariners will shut down Taijuan Walker after Monday’s start

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Mariners rookie starter Taijuan Walker will make his final start of the 2013 season against the Astros on Monday, reports MLB.com’s Greg Johns. Brandon Maurer will take his spot in the rotation.

Walker spent most of his season between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, posting an aggregate 2.93 ERA in 141.1 innings. He made his Major League debut on August 30 against the Astros, shutting them out on two hits and a walk in five innings. His second start didn’t go as well, as he allowed four runs to the Royals in five frames.

MLB.com ranked Walker, drafted by the Mariners 43rd overall in the 2010 draft, as the #5 overall prospect entering the season. He is expected to be a mainstay in the Seattle rotation starting next season.

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.