Starling Marte exits game after being hit in arm by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was forced to exit tonight’s game against the Phillies after he was hit in the left arm with a pitch.

Marte was hit in the arm by a pitch from A.J. Burnett in the second inning. He remained in the game initially, but left before the bottom of the third inning, with Travis Snider sliding over to left field and Gregory Polanco entering the game to play right field. The issue is being described as “discomfort” and he’s receiving treatment.

Losing Marte for any length of time would be tough for the Pirates, as the 25-year-old has been one of the hottest hitters in the game since returning from a concussion in early August. He’s batting .362/.426/.598 with 17 extra-base hits (six home runs), 16 RBI, five stolen bases, and 25 runs scored over his last 34 games.

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.