Miguel Montero wants the Cubs to activate him so he can play through a sprained thumb

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Cubs catcher Miguel Montero has been on the disabled list for two weeks with a sprained left thumb and the consensus seems to be that it will bother him for the remainder of the season, but he feels ready to return and wants to play through the injury.

Or as Montero told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: “If I wait to be 100 percent, it’s going to be season-ending, pretty much.”

Montero spoke to a doctor who said he can play through the injury as long as he can tolerate the pain and according to the catcher “in my own mind, I think I can go right now.”

Montero’s injury cleared the path for stud catcher prospect Kyle Schwarber to be called up and he’s been fantastic, hitting .357 with a 1.035 OPS in 19 games. However, he’s also rough around the edges defensively behind the plate and has been seeing action in left field to keep his bat in the lineup.

Assuming that Montero can tolerate the pain and play at something close to 100 percent effectiveness the Cubs are definitely a better team with both Montero and Schwarber at manager Joe Maddon’s disposal, but given the injury and the physical demands of catching that seems like a big assumption to make.

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.