Willson Contreras likely headed to disabled list after pulling hamstring

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Cubs catcher Willson Contreras pulled his right hamstring running out a ground out in the top of the eighth inning of Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to the Giants. Manager Joe Maddon says Contreras is likely headed to the disabled list, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports. The team will know more after Contreras undergoes an MRI.

Contreras, 25, finished 0-for-3 with a walk on the afternoon. He’s hitting .274/.342/.519 with 21 home runs and 70 RBI in 378 plate appearances this season.

Alex Avila, acquired from the Tigers at the trade deadline, will handle most of the playing time behind the plate while Contreras is out. The Cubs will also likely recall Victor Caratini from Triple-A Iowa to serve as Avila’s back-up.

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.