Mike Schmidt wants to help Domonic Brown

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Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown is coming off of an abysmal 2014 performance in which he finished with a .235/.285/.349 slash line. Not exactly the kind of follow-up to his All-Star 2013 output the Phillies were expecting. With Marlon Byrd gone, Brown is moving across the outfield back to right field, and he’ll be fighting for a starting role with the Phillies for the foreseeable future.

Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt is hoping to work with Brown over the course of the spring in an effort to help him live up to his potential and perhaps even win the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Via MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“I know his history. I watched a great majority of his at-bats last year. I hope to get him to open up a bit in talking and trusting [me]. I’m not going to try to impart any mechanical things that I did as a right-handed power hitter. I searched for the ball with my hands. Domonic is more of a rotational, sit-on-the-back-leg guy. The core makes the swing happen.

Domonic needs to be challenged to get back to where he was. But at the same time, not told he’s bad or regressing. Search for positives. I wouldn’t call it starting over. [I would tell him] ‘Get this in your mind: I’m going to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award, starting now.'”

Though Schmidt insists it was just coincidence, Brown hit a home run in mid-June last season only minutes after having flagged down Schmidt for advice. Schmidt told Brown to use his top hand more. Brown then tagged Cubs starter Edwin Jackson for a lead-extending three-run home run. It would seem that if anyone could get the most out of Brown, it’s Schmidt.

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.