For over 100 years, off and on — more off than on, actually — major leaguers have traveled to Japan for all-star barnstorming series of one form or another. The tradition will continue this November and this morning MLB and the MLBPA announced many of the participants in the series, which is being called the Japan All-Star Series.
On the squad are Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, Eugenio Suárez of the Reds, Christian Yelich of the Brewers, Ronald Acuña of the Braves, Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana of the Phillies, Whit Merrifield of the Royals and Chris Taylor of the Dodgers. Other members of roster will be announced in the coming weeks. Don Mattingly will be the team’s manager.
The All-Star Series will be played in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya, with an exhibition game played against the Yomiuri Giants on November 8th, followed by three games against a Japanese All-Star game in Tokyo from November 9-11, one game in Hiroshima on November 13 and two games in Nagoya on November 14-15. MLB Network will provide live telecasts of the games from November 9-15.
Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day.
Clemens made four appearances on last year’s KayRod Cast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. He will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network.
“Roger has been sort of a friend of ours for the last year, so to speak, he’s in. He’s been engaged, knowledgeable and really present,” said ESPN Vice President of Production Phil Orlins. “You know, whatever past may be, he’s still tremendously engaged and he really brought that every time he was with us.”
Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.
Orlins said that with the rules changes and pitch clock, it is important to have a pitcher in the booth with Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez.
“We don’t feel like we have to have the dynamic of Eduardo with a pitcher, but we certainly think that works. Throw in the added factor of rule changes and it is better to have a batter-pitcher perspective,” Orlins said.
Orlins did not say if this would open the door for future opportunities for Clemens as an ESPN analyst.