Struggling David Ortiz will get a couple of days off to work on his swing

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After being dropped in John Farrell’s batting order earlier this week, the struggling David Ortiz will now get a couple of days off to work on his swing. According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, the veteran slugger is also dealing with a case of the flu.

The 39-year-old Ortiz has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats and is batting an uncharacteristic .216/.303/.377 with six home runs and 18 RBI across his first 43 games this season. His strikeout rate is up only slightly from last year, but his hard-hit rate is down and he’s hitting more ground balls than at any point of his career. With the way teams shift him, it’s not surprising that his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) sits at just .227 right now.

Hanley Ramirez is expected to fill in at designated hitter for the next couple of days while Ortiz works on things.

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.