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Rangers sign Edinson Volquez to two-year minor league contract

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The Texas Rangers have signed Edinson Volquez to a two year minor league contract.

That’s a somewhat odd thing to do, but it makes sense in  Volquez’s situation: he underwent Tommy John surgery in August and will miss almost all of this year as he’s rehabbing. He’s still being paid $13 million by the Miami Marlins for 2018, so the Rangers get an almost free year of him for his rehab and then an extraordinarily inexpensive year of him in 2019. Specifically, $2 million if he makes the big league club. If he doesn’t come back the way they’d like to see, they can simply let him go since he’ll be on a minor league deal.

Volquez’s injury-aborted 2017 campaign featured a 4.19 ERA and an 81/53 K/BB ratio in 92 1/3 innings across 17 starts, including a no-hitter against the Diamondbacks in June.

Volquez, as you may remember, came up with the Rangers in 2005 and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2008 season for Josh Hamilton. Happy homecoming, Edinson.

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.