Billy Wagner to be replaced on Braves' postseason roster

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Braves closer Billy Wagner suffered a strained left oblique Saturday in Game 2 of Atlanta’s NLDS matchup with the Giants.  He tried throwing on Sunday morning but did not feel well, according to Jeff Flectcher of AOL Fanhouse, and is going to be replaced on the club’s postseason roster by Takashi Saito.  Well, if MLB approves the move.

Saito was unavailable to the Braves down the stretch because of a shoulder injury, but he threw in an instructional league game last week and is again ready to contribute.  A 40-year-old righty, he posted a fantastic 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 69/17 K/BB ratio over 54 innings during the regular season.

Wagner won’t be returning for the NLCS, if the Braves advance, and may be done altogether.  He informed the world in August that he will retire after 2010.

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.