Indians prospect Francisco Lindor likely to start 2015 season at Triple-A

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In his Saturday column for The Plain Dealer, Terry Pluto suggests that Indians shortstop prospect Francisco Lindor will likely begin the 2015 season at Triple-A Columbus because the team believes he needs some more work before getting a promotion. They did not bring Lindor up to the majors when rosters expanded in November.

With Lindor at Triple-A, Jose Ramirez should be expected to be the everyday shortstop along with Jason Kipnis at second base, and Mike Aviles backing up both middle infield positions.

Lindor, who turns 21 in two weeks, has consistently been rated among the game’s best prospects after the Indians took him in the first round (eighth overall) in the 2011 draft. The shortstop batted .273/.307/.388 in 180 plate appearances in his first taste of Triple-A competition following his promotion in July.

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.