Nick Martinez wins No. 5 spot in Rangers’ starting rotation

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Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Nick Martinez has on the No. 5 spot in the Rangers’ starting rotation. Martinez had been competing against Nick Tepesch, Lisalverto Bonilla, Anthony Ranaudo and Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez. Tepesch and Bonilla are still vying for a spot as a long reliever with the Rangers, with the loser likely headed to Triple-A Round Rock to start.

Martinez has allowed just one run on 10 hits and a walk while striking out nine in 10 2/3 innings in the Cactus League this spring. The 24-year-old made his major league debut last season, posting a 4.55 ERA with a 77/55 K/BB ratio in 140 1/3 innings over 24 starts and five relief appearances.

The Rangers suffered a big blow earlier this month, losing ace Yu Darvish to Tommy John surgery, which created an opening at the back of the rotation for Martinez.

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.