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Red Sox play Wednesday afternoon’s game vs. Rays under protest

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With a 3-2 lead, the Rays got fancy with lineup manipulation in the eighth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Red Sox. As the top of the eighth began, the Rays moved Travis d'Arnaud from first base to catcher. Lefty reliever Adam Kolarek replaced Charlie Morton, and Ji-Man Choi entered the game at first base. After Kolarek got Sam Travis to pop up, manager Kevin Cash put Kolarek at first base and brought in right-handed reliever Chaz Roe. Kolarek moved to first base. Roe got Mookie Betts to fly out to left field. More lineup trickery: Nate Lowe came in to play first base, replacing Roe, and Kolarek went back to the mound, getting Rafael Devers to ground out for the final out of the inning.

After Kolarek returned to the mound, Red Sox manager Alex Cora discussed the situation with home plate umpire Ángel Hernández. Hernández then conferred with the other umpires, who couldn’t seem to reach a consensus on the situation. The game was delayed for around 20 minutes. Cora’s dispute was that the Rays were making an illegal substitution, having elected to give up the DH spot in the lineup. Ultimately, the Rays were allowed to make their substitutions as intended. Cora chose to have his team play the game under protest due to the placement of substitutes in the lineup. The Rays went on to win 3-2.

MLB will have a look at the Rays’ goings-on in Wednesday’s game. If the league decides that the umpires did, in fact, get it wrong by allowing the Rays to make illegal roster substitutions, the game will be replayed from the point of protest. If the league sides with the Rays, the outcome of the game stands. Protests hardly ever work, though it’s worth doing as a matter of principle at least. According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, only one protest since 1986 has been successful, when the Giants protested a rain-shortened game against the Cubs in 2014.

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.