Kolten Wong
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Video: Kolten Wong starts a slick double play


Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong won his first career Gold Glove last season. He showed why he deserved it on Tuesday afternoon in a Grapefruit League game against the Astros.

In the top of the first inning, with Michael Brantley on first base and one out, Alex Bregman stepped to the plate to face Dakota Hudson. Bregman grounded a 1-0 fastball up the middle. Wong ranged to his right, diving at the last second to snag the ball. He then somehow flipped the ball with some gusto to Paul DeJong to get the force out. DeJong whipped the ball over to first base to complete the inning-ending double play.

It may just be spring training, but we can always appreciate good defense.

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.