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UPDATE: MLB determines the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose

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UPDATE: Major League Baseball has just released a statement, saying it has determined that the Tigers did not hit umpire Quinn Wolcott on purpose on Wednesday:

“MLB takes seriously the safety of on-field personnel — players, coaches and umpires alike — and has thoroughly reviewed the incident. Upon completion of that review, Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre has concluded that no Tigers player intended for the pitch to hit Umpire Wolcott, and therefor no discipline will be issued.”

10:36 AM: On Wednesday afternoon, during the Tigers-Indians game, home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott ejected Tigers catcher James McCann and then ejected manager Brad Ausmus over their arguing of balls and strikes. At one point the argument got a bit pointed, with Ausmus suggesting that Wolcott was caught up in the Indians winning streak and giving them preferable calls. That’s gonna earn you your ejection, obviously.

With McCann gone, backup catcher James Hicks came into the game.  A few pitches later, a Buck Farmer pitch sailed on Hicks, he missed it entirely and it hit Wolcott, shaking him up. While a few people — including analyst Dallas Braden — speculated online that maybe Hicks let the ball get through in order to intentionally hit Wolcott, Ausmus dismissed that as “ridiculous.” For my part, it just seemed like a pitch with an unusual amount of action on it, missed by a catcher who was unexpectedly inserted into the game moments before. An accident.

The Associated Press is reporting this morning, however, that Major League Baseball is investigating the matter, in an effort to determine if it was, in fact, intentional. I suspect this is being done at the instigation of Wolcott or the umpire’s union because, as the AP reports, as he was being examined by a trainer, he said “They didn’t do it on purpose, did they?”

Judge for yourself here:

 

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.