Athletics, Mariners to begin 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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The San Francisco Chronicle first reported this back in February, but today Major League Baseball made it official: the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome. The two-game set will be on March 20-21.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners. This is the fifth time that MLB has opened its season in Tokyo and the eighth season-opener to be played internationally. MLB has previously opened seasons in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); Tokyo (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012); San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001); and Sydney, Australia (2014).

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous opening series the Indians and Twins played in Puerto Rico a couple of weeks ago and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. The Yankees and Red Sox are reportedly near an agreement to hold a series in London next year as well. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

In addition to the opening series, MLB also announced that it will renew the All-Star Tour with Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) with six games across Japan from November 8th-15th. This will mark the 37th time overall that Major Leaguers have toured Japan for exhibition games, dating back to 1908

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.