2011 was Jeff Francoeur’s most recent productive season and the season after Alex Rodriguez’s last 30-homer campaign. Francoeur’s star has fallen steeply since then, compiling a .615 OPS in 887 plate appearances while struggling to stay in the majors. A-Rod, of course, battled injuries and missed all of 2014 due to a drug-related suspension.
It may be 2015 now, but both are still sort of relevant as Francoeur has a decent shot at making the Phillies’ 25-man roster and Rodriguez will attempt to be a productive member of the Yankees’ everyday lineup.
Both were involved in an interesting play on Friday afternoon as the Yankees were in Clearwater to take on the Phillies in a Grapefruit League match-up. With runners on second and third and one out in the second inning of a scoreless game, Chris Young hit a deep fly ball to Francoeur in right field. Rodriguez, on third, tagged up but was easily tagged out following a strong throw from Francoeur to catcher Cameron Rupp. Watch:
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Rodriguez, by the way, will make his spring debut at first base on Sunday against the Astros, per ESPN’s Baseball Tonight on Twitter.
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.