The Orix Buffaloes held an intrasquad game on Monday, with Nippon Professional Baseball targeting a late-June start for its coronavirus pandemic-delayed 2020 season.

NPB had aimed to open its season on April 24 after previously pushing it back from its original start date of March 20.

Earlier this month, however, NPB commissioner Atsushi Saito suggested the season may start in the second half of June.

Monday's game in an empty Kyocera Dome, is the first the Buffaloes have played since the state of emergency was lifted in Osaka, along with two other western prefectures, last Thursday.

The Buffaloes allowed reporters into the stadium on Monday, though they were still restricted from the playing field and dugout, and required to wear face masks and to undergo temperature checks at the entrance.

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks also played a intrasquad game on Monday at PayPay Dome. Fukuoka was among the 39 prefectures where the state of emergency was lifted on May 14.

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