Taijuan Walker will make another rehab start at Triple-A

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Mariners starter Taijuan Walker has been moved up to Triple-A Tacoma to make one more rehab start, reports Bob Dutton of the News Tribune. Walker is taking the Blake Beavan’s spot in Tacoma’s rotation, as the Mariners tabbed Beavan to fill in for the injured James Paxton in the big league rotation. Beavan will start Tuesday against the Rangers.

Walker has made two rehab starts to date. In his first, on April 4 at Single-A, he allowed two runs (one earned) in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one. In his second, on April 9 at Double-A, Walker allowed no runs on three hits and a walk while striking out ten in five innings.

While Walker has had good results, manager Lloyd McClendon wants his pitcher to get stronger:

“He needs to continue to get stronger,” McClendon said. “He needs to continue to command all of his pitches. He’s progressing well. We’re very pleased with where he is at this point.

“We just need to get that pitch count up, that pitchability up a little more.”

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.