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COVID-19 crisis shuts out foreign players from Japanese baseball

All BayStars players unable to enter Japan before season opening

Neftali Soto of the Yokohama DeNA BayStars takes a swing during a game against the Chunichi Dragons at Yokohama Stadium in August 2020. The outlook for his -- and other foreign players' -- reentry into Japan is uncertain.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- With Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball Organization due to open the 2021 season on Mar. 26, teams are experiencing uneven preparedness among foreign players as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

While many foreign players who played in Japan last year are still unable to reenter Japan, some new players have arrived in Japan in time for their teams' spring training camps and have been stepping up preparations for the new season.

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