Astros place Jason Castro on the disabled list, promote Max Stassi

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The Astros have placed catcher Jason Castro on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quad and recalled catcher Max Stassi from Triple-A Fresno, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports. Stassi will be available for Saturday’s contest against the Twins.

Stassi, 24, has struggled in his second season at Triple-A, batting .211/.279/.384 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 328 plate appearances. The Astros acquired him from the Athletics in February 2013 in the Jed Lowrie trade. Stassi had brief stints in the majors in both 2013 and ’14, but is still searching for his first big league home run.

Castro hits the shelf batting .220/.284/.395 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI in 327 PA.

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.