Nationals interested in reliever Ryan Madson

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James Wagner of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals were among the teams in attendance at Ryan Madson’s showcase last Friday in Phoenix and came away impressed by the free agent reliever.

Madson reportedly hit 93 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions during the workout and should soon land a minor league contract from one of the 15-or-so clubs that showed up to watch him pitch.

The 33-year-old right-hander hasn’t appeared in a major league game since the 2011 postseason due to elbow issues, but he was among the best late-inning arms in the sport before Tommy John surgery sidetracked his career. Madson posted a 2.45 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 126/29 K/BB ratio in 113 2/3 innings during his final two seasons (2010-2011) with the Phillies.

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.