Franklin Gutierrez to sit out the season after relapse of symptoms

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Franklin Gutierrez re-signed with the Mariners in mid-December and said he was “feeling good” after dealing with an assortment of health issues during the past three seasons, but the team announced that he now plans to sit out the entire season.

Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the center fielder has been placed on the restricted list after symptoms related to his gastrointestinal problems returned, writing: “Gutierrez didn’t feel it was fair to the Mariners to come to spring training in his condition and has decided to focus on his health.”

It’s yet another tough break in a long line of tough breaks for Gutierrez, who once looked capable of developing into one of the best all-around center fielders in the league by combining solid hitting with exceptional defense. Unfortunately that was 2009 and he’s hit just .243 with a .652 OPS since then while missing 243 of a possible 324 games during the past two years.

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.