Hunter Pence suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left forearm when he was hit by a pitch in early March and will likely miss all of April, but Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com reports that he had his cast removed yesterday.
While this represents progress, Pence is still about 10-14 days away from swinging a bat. The original timeline called for him to miss 6-8 weeks, but how he progresses in the coming days will determine whether he’ll be able to return in that window.
Gregor Blanco and Justin Maxwell should see an uptick in playing time during Pence’s absence, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy is also juggling his lineup. Nori Aoki is the new leadoff man while Angel Pagan is expected to bat third against righties and fifth against lefties.
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.