Brian Bannister is AWOL from the Yomiuri Giants


Weird story involving former Royals pitcher Brian Bannister. Banny left the majors after last season and signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants of the NPB.  When the earthquake hit he, like a lot of gaijin left Japan to be with their families and get the hell out of the way of rescue and recovery efforts.  Most who did so asked permission first. Most who did so have since come back, seeing as the season has gotten underway.  Not Bannister. He just up and left and hasn’t come back.

As a result, the Giants have put him on the restricted list and his future in baseball is in doubt. He wasn’t reached for comment in the article. And though it is reported in the article that Bannister told the Giants he’d rather retire than return to Japan, the team denies that such discussions took place.

This could be a rather ignominious end to what has been a fairly interesting baseball career.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.