Anthony Rendon expected to begin playing in minor league rehab games this Friday

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Via Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com

Fresh off a week where both Jayson Werth and Denard Span returned to their lineup, the Nationals are close to getting another significant boost, as star third baseman Anthony Rendon is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment by the end of the week.

Rendon played three innings Monday in an extended spring training game and will try to play five innings on Wednesday as a final test of his injured left knee.

The 24-year-old former first-round pick was diagnosed with a sprained MCL in early March and the Nationals had been easing him back into action this month at their spring training complex in Viera, Florida.

Rendon broke out in 2014 with an .824 OPS, 21 homers, 83 RBI, 17 steals, and 111 runs scored.

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.