Corey Kluber aims to rejoin Indians’ rotation next weekend

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Corey Kluber was enjoying a breakthrough season prior to landing on the disabled list earlier this month with a sprained right middle finger, but he could still make a big impact down the stretch.

Bobby Nightengale of MLB.com reports that Kluber threw all of his pitches during a bullpen session Friday and is scheduled to throw a simulated game Monday. The simulated game will essentially function as a rehab start, which means that he could rejoin the Indians’ rotation next weekend against the Mets.

Kluber, 27, owns an impressive 3.54 ERA and 116/26 K/BB ratio in 122 innings over 19 starts and two relief appearances this season.

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.