Braves sign former All-Star closer Matt Capps

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Matt Capps, who’s missed most of the past two seasons with shoulder problems, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Braves.

Capps was a closer for the Pirates, Nationals, and Twins, totaling 137 saves from 2007-2012, but he hasn’t pitched in the majors since then and spent the past two seasons at Triple-A for the Indians and was mostly on the disabled list there.

Capps is still just 31 years old and if healthy could be a potential setup man for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

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.