On Wednesday night, the Red Sox and Yankees had two benches-clearing incidents that stemmed from what the Red Sox perceived as a dirty slide by Tyler Austin into shortstop Brock Holt, covering second base. Holt and Austin had a few words and the benches emptied in the third inning. Later in the game, Joe Kelly threw at Austin, prompting Austin to charge the mound and both benches to empty again.
Major League Baseball has levied punishments for Kelly and Austin. Kelly has been suspended six games for intentionally hitting Austin with a pitch and fighting. Austin has been suspended five games for charging the mound and fighting. Both players are appealing their suspensions, so they will be able to play until that is taken care of. Austin was also fined an undisclosed amount.
Also fined for their roles in Wednesday’s dust-up: Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin. CC Sabathia, Xander Bogaerts, Marco Hernandez, and Dustin Pedroia were fined for being on the disabled list and entering the field of play.
The Yankees and Red Sox start the final game of their three-game series at Fenway Park in just over an hour, so that should be interesting.
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.