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Pirates, Rockies benches empty

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Tempers flared between the Pirates and Rockies during Wednesday night’s game at PNC Park. In the bottom of the fifth inning, with the Rockies leading 3-0, starter German Marquez clearly unintentionally hit Francisco Cervelli with a first-pitch fastball.

There had been no prior offense from either team. While Cervelli stared at Marquez for a brief second, home plate umpire Chris Conroy was already in front of the plate, ready to stop anything from happening. However, catcher Tony Wolters started talking to Cervelli. Cervelli didn’t like what Wolters was saying. Botch teams’ benches and bullpens emptied, but nothing happened beyond some terse words being exchanged.

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The three-game set between the two teams ended on Wednesday night. The Pirates and Rockies won’t meet again until after the All-Star break for a three-game weekend series in Colorado, so we’ll have to wait over a month to see if any grudges are held.

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.