Backdropped by the deadly earthquake and tsunami and worsening radiation leak, the Japan Pro Baseball season opened Tuesday to relief, empathy and cheers as the Rakuten Eagles beat the defending champion Chiba Lotte Marines 6-4.
Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia got roughed up in another disappointing homecoming and Dana Eveland allowed one run in seven innings to win in his Oakland Athletics debut, beating the Indians 6-1 on Saturday.
In Japan for an All-Star tour, baseball officials said Friday the sport will open an office in Beijing within a month to help promote the game in a nation that has a population of more than 1.3 billion.
MLB plans to flip-flop the first two April series between the Yankees against Tampa Bay, having New York return to Florida from Japan instead of opening the North American part of its season at Yankee Stadium.