Korean baseball could return by early May

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Two days ago I linked a story about the precautions the Korean Baseball Organization is taking in order to bring the game back. Today we have something approaching a set date range for that return. Here’s what KBO secretary general Ryu Dae-hwan said after a meeting with club general managers in Seoul today:

“If the situation continues to improve from here and on, teams will start facing each other in preseason games beginning on April 21, and we should be able to get the regular season started in early May”

This schedule is dictated by conditions on the ground, and those conditions are trending in a positive direction. The Associated Press reports that today South Korea recorded 53 new infections, marking the third consecutive day that has seen new cases around the 50-mark. This is down from a February 29 peak of 900. If the league does get going on Ryu’s timetable, it could still play a full 144-game schedule.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States and the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in South Korea occurred on the same day. South Korea’s containment of the pandemic has been far more effective than the United States’ for numerous reasons, some of which are detailed here, here, and here.

Guardians trade OF Will Benson to Reds for OF Justin Boyd

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CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Guardians traded outfielder Will Benson to the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday for outfielder Justin Boyd.

The defending AL Central champions also will get a player to be named from the Reds in the swap.

Cincinnati drafted Boyd in the second round last year out of Oregon State. He led the Pac-12 with a .373 batting average and 24 steals in 2022. The 21-year-old batted .203 in 73 at-bats for Class-A Daytona.

The 6-foot-5 Benson spent 28 games with the Guardians last season, batting .182 with three RBIs in 28 games. The 24-year-old struggled at the plate, striking out 19 times in just 55 at-bats.

Benson was once considered one of Cleveland’s top outfield prospects, but has since been surpassed by Steven Kwan, Oscar Gonzalez and Will Brennan.