Bryce Harper scratched from Nationals’ lineup on Tuesday because of left knee soreness

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From Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com comes word that Bryce Harper has been scratched from the Nationals’ starting lineup Tuesday against the Dodgers due to soreness in his left knee. He’s had surgery on that knee in the past, but there’s no word yet on the severity of this particular issue.

Clint Robinson is starting in right field and batting cleanup versus Dodgers righty Zack Greinke.

Harper, 22, has hit .333/.460/.650 with 29 home runs and 69 RBI in 105 games this season. It would be a shame — and a massive blow for the second-place Nationals — if the 22-year-old superstar is forced to miss an extended period of time.

Washington is currently 1 1/2 games back of the Mets in the National League East standings and 4 1/2 games back of the Cubs for the second National League Wild Card spot.

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UPDATE, 8:32 PM ET: Mostly good news from MASN’s Dan Kolko

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.