Pirates demote Gregory Polanco to Triple-A

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Gregory Polanco got off to a great start after the Pirates called him up in mid-June, but the 22-year-old top prospect has been slumping for the past two months and recently manager Clint Hurdle has decided to play Travis Snider over him in right field.

And now the Pirates have demoted Polanco back to Triple-A, where hit .347 in 62 games prior to being called up.

From a performance standpoint it’s tough to argue with the demotion, as Polanco has hit just .204 with three homers and a .564 OPS in his last 40 games. And if he wasn’t going to play regularly in the majors he might as well play regularly in the minors, but with the minor-league season winding down and September 1 roster expansion right around the corner it seems likely that Polanco will be back in Pittsburgh within a week or two anyway.

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.