George Springer back in Astros’ lineup Wednesday

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Astros outfielder George Springer sat out Monday and Tuesday due to soreness in his right knee, but he is back in the Houston starting lineup on Wednesday night and told MLB.com beat reporter Brian McTaggart that he feels completely “good to go.”

“I always try to snake my way in there no matter what,” Springer said of his two-day absence. “Obviously, I have the utmost respect for [Astros manager Bo Porter] and the decisions he makes. He’s obviously doing it my best interest. He told me [to sit] and I said, ‘OK, I’ll get it checked out.'”

The 24-year-old budding star boasts an .843 OPS with 12 home runs and 35 RBI through his first 48 games at the major league level.

He is batting second and playing right field on Wednesday against the Diamondbacks.

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.