White Sox 1B/DH Paul Konerko vows to return before the end of the season, saying “I’ll finish on the field,” via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Konerko added, “I don’t care if I go up there and take three pitches and strike out, I’ll finish on the field.” In fact, the 38-year-old veteran seems rather optimistic, saying that returning for only the final series at home would be a “worst-case scenario.”
Konerko suffered a fracture in the sesamoid bone in his left hand applying a tag on Twins SS/CF Danny Santana following a bunt in the eighth inning on Tuesday. Konerko, who has played in parts of 18 seasons in the major leagues, has posted subpar offensive numbers, slashing .220/.272/.344 with five home runs and 22 RBI in 202 plate appearances.
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.