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Rougned Odor pulls off straight steal of home

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Second baseman Rougned Odor helped cut into the Rangers’ deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Athletics. Entering the inning trailing 8-3, Odor doubled in a run to make it 8-5. Odor would advance to third base on an infield single. Later, with Shin-Soo Choo batting with two outs, Odor noticed lefty Ryan Buchter wasn’t paying attention when he was coming set on the mound. Odor decided to attempt a straight steal of home and did so easily, reducing the deficit to 8-6.

The A’s would tack on a run in the top of the ninth and the Rangers would fight back for two in the bottom half of the ninth, falling just short in a 9-8 loss. Odor finished 3-for-4 on the afternoon with a pair of doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored. He needed a good day at the plate. Even after Sunday’s effort, he’s batting a meager .177/.246/.333 with seven homers, 29 RBI, 27 runs scored, and five stolen bases in 204 plate appearances on the season.

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.