More arm issues and maybe surgery for Scheppers?

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Tanner Scheppers was a consensus first-round talent who fell to the
Rangers in the second round of last week’s draft because of concerns
about the health of his shoulder and Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com reports that two teams passed on him because they believe he has a 50-percent labrum tear that will eventually require surgery.

Here’s what Texas general manager Jon Daniels had to say about Scheppers’ status:

I’d prefer not to discuss specifics of Tanner’s medical situation
for two reasons: One, he’s not our player until he’s signed; and two,
I’m uncomfortable doing so in general. The best I can put it is this:
He was examined by Dr. [Keith] Meister before the draft. He was cleared
to be selected, with the understanding that there may be a heightened
level of risk versus other pitchers of a similar age and experience
level. We took him with eyes wide open and hope to sign him this summer.

This isn’t the first time that Scheppers’ shoulder has been an issue.
In fact, he went through a very similar situation last year when he
fell from likely first-round pick to the Pirates at No. 48 overall
after being diagnosed with a stress fracture.

Rather than sign for below-market money Scheppers opted to follow in
J.D. Drew’s footsteps by playing for the independent league St. Paul
Saints, where he stayed healthy and reestablished himself as a
top-notch prospect by flashing a mid-90s fastball and plus curveball.

As Mayo notes, “the Rangers clearly felt comfortable enough to
select Scheppers” while “others concluded the injury was too severe and
decided to pass.” He has until August 17 to sign this time around and
the Rangers seemingly wouldn’t have used a second rounder on him
without being willing to pony up above-slot money, but obviously that
would all change if he indeed needs to go under the knife.

Ironically, the Rangers received the No. 44 pick that they used to
select Scheppers as compensation for losing the oft-injured Milton
Bradley as a free agent.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.