Cubs sign Emilio Bonifacio to minor league contract

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From beat writer Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com

Bonifacio was pushed off the 40-man roster of the crosstown White Sox on August 16 after batting just .167/.198/.192 with one stolen base in 47 games. He stole 26 bases in 110 games last season between the Cubs and Braves. Look for the Northsiders to use him in a utility and pinch-running role in September.

The 30-year-old Bonifacio will report to the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate in Iowa for now.

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.