Jorge Polanco
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Video: Jorge Polanco hits for the cycle

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Not a month into the new season, and we’ve already seen the first cycle of 2019. Shortstop Jorge Polanco completed the feat for the Twins on Friday, becoming the first franchise player to do so since Michael Cuddyer in 2009 and the first major-leaguer to hit for the cycle since Brock Holt completed one for the Red Sox during Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series.

Polanco started off with the most difficult part of a cycle — a triple — after getting a three-bagger off of the Phillies’ Nick Pivetta in the first inning. When he came up to bat again in the third inning, he roped a single to center field for his second hit of the night, but was left stranded on the bases after Pivetta made short work of the heart of the order. The Twins, meanwhile, trailed 5-2 after the Phillies’ explosive run in the first inning, and had only just gotten on the board with Max Kepler‘s two-run homer in the third.

Nevertheless, Polanco continued to charge toward his first career cycle, this time with a 349-foot home run off of Pivetta in the fifth inning. He pounced on a first-pitch, 90.6-m.p.h. fastball and sent it out to the right field corner, barely clearing the wall for his first long ball of the 2019 season.

The Phillies pulled Pivetta after five innings of four-run, four-strikeout ball, but Polanco still had something left in the tank for Pivetta’s replacement, lefty reliever Adam Morgan. With only a double left to collect, Polanco stepped into the batter’s box at the top of the seventh inning, worked a 1-1 count against Morgan, and bounced an 81.2-m.p.h. changeup down the third base line. The ball ricocheted into the left field corner, Andrew McCutchen ran to retrieve it, and Polanco was left standing on second base with the first complete cycle of the year.

The Twins currently trail the Phillies 10-4 in the bottom of the eighth.

Update: Polanco added to his total with a fifth base hit in the ninth inning. Per MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, he’s the first known player to reach 11+ total bases without scoring (or driving in) multiple runs.

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.