Braves sign Royals castoff Jason Frasor for bullpen help

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Veteran reliever Jason Frasor has signed with the Braves after being released by the Royals earlier this week, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Frasor’s release was a surprise because of his sparkling 1.54 ERA, but his 18/15 K/BB ratio in 23 innings was far less impressive and Kansas City is overflowing with quality bullpen options.

With that said, Frasor has a decade-long history of solid work as a setup man–including a sub-3.75 ERA in six of the past seven seasons–and even at age 37 should be able to help the Braves’ bullpen following closer Jason Grilli’s season-ending Achilles’ tendon injury.

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.