Twins second baseman Brian Dozier is now officially an All-Star, as he’s replacing injured Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, MLB has announced.
Dozier’s initial omission from the American League All-Star roster caused some consternation, as he’s been at least the second-best second baseman in the league (behind Jason Kipnis) and arguably the best depending on which metrics strike your fancy. He has 19 home runs, 49 RBI, nine stolen bases, and a .259/.331/.521 triple-slash line.
Bautista has been nursing a shoulder injury since the end of May. To his credit, he has mostly been a productive bat in the Blue Jays’ lineup, currently hitting .239/.385/.496 with 17 home runs and 59 RBI. But he’s hitting a meager .158/.319/.316 in 72 plate appearances dating back to June 23. Rather than risk exacerbating the condition, Bautista will use the few days off afforded by the All-Star break to rest and receive treatment for his shoulder.
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.