Mark Teixeira hopes to return from lat strain on Tuesday

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Mark Teixeira is out of the Yankees’ starting lineup for the eighth straight game tonight due to a lower lat strain, but he told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’s aiming to make his return tomorrow.

Teixeira was originally expected to miss 3-4 days, so the Yankees have had to play short-handed for over a week now. The good news is that he has felt improvement since a platelet-rich plasma injection and had no issues today when he took on-field batting practice for the first time since the injury.

“I’m very happy,” Teixeira said. “The back spasms are gone, which I’ve been dealing with for a long time, so that’s really good. It’s good to see that the treatments worked and the time off helped, so hopefully they won’t come back.”

While it hasn’t been pretty, Brian McCann has functioned as the Yankees’ primary first baseman during Teixeira’s absence. He’s making his seventh straight start at the position tonight. Meanwhile, Francisco Cervelli is making his eighth straight start behind the plate.

After being limited to just 15 games last season due to a wrist injury, Teixeira is batting .231/.330/.443 with 17 home runs and 48 RBI over 76 games this season. He leads the Yankees in home runs, RBI, and OPS.

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.