Cubs designate Edwin Jackson for assignment

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ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reports that the Cubs have designated Edwin Jackson for assignment and called up reliever Rafael Soriano from Triple-A Iowa. Though the move isn’t surprising given Jackson’s struggles, it has nevertheless left a “somber mood” in the Cubs’ locker room, Rogers notes.

The Cubs signed Jackson to a four-year, $52 million contract in December 2012, but it didn’t work out. Over 347 innings with the Cubs, the right-hander compiled a 5.37 ERA. This season, it was a respectable 3.19 in 31 relief innings, but his strikeout and walk rates are pedestrian at best for a reliever.

Soriano only tossed seven innings in the minors for the Cubs but allowed no runs while allowing four hits and three walks and striking out seven.

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.