Yankees interested in Raul Ibanez … as a coach

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Raul Ibanez will presumably be forced into retirement at age 42 whether he wants to quit playing or not after hitting .167 this season, but it may not take him long to find a new gig.

Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that “the Yankees plan on talking to Ibanez about a coaching position on Joe Girardi’s staff.”

New York has not hired a replacement for fired hitting coach Kevin Long yet and they also have an opening at first base coach after letting Mick Kelleher go.

Ibanez played for the Yankees in 2012, hitting .240 with 19 homers and a .761 OPS in 130 games along with some memorable postseason moments.

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.