J.T. Realmuto
Getty Images

J.T. Realmuto elected player-manager for Marlins’ last game of 2018

2 Comments

Russell Martin isn’t the only major league player who will assume control of the dugout when the regular season comes to an end on Sunday. According to Marlins skipper Don Mattingly, catcher J.T. Realmuto will take over managing duties for the day in what has become something of a tradition for the team.

Realmuto, 27, made his final appearance of the season on Saturday and will round out his fifth year in Miami with a .277/.340/.484 batting line and career-best 21 home runs and .825 OPS through 531 plate appearances. His .300+ batting average and double-digit home runs helped him to his first All-Star nomination during the first half of the year as well. There’s still some ambiguity surrounding Realmuto’s future within the organization, however, and the Marlins haven’t yet indicated whether they intend to extend or trade the catcher as they look to restructure their roster into something resembling a postseason contender.

After calling the game from the dugout during the Marlins’ final game against the Mets, Realmuto will join A.J. Ellis and Martin Prado as the team’s most recent one-time player-managers. Ellis took his turn in the skipper’s seat during the 2017 season finale and steered the club to an 8-5 loss against the Braves, while Prado did double-duty in 2016 after juggling a full lineup and third base duties against the Nationals, who eventually took the series with a 10-7 win.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

Getty Images
1 Comment

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.