Mets closer Bobby Parnell has a partially torn elbow

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Mets closer Bobby Parnell showed decreased velocity while blowing a save against the Nationals on Opening Day and the team just announced that he has a partially torn MCL in his elbow.

Parnell has been told to rest for two weeks, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that surgery has not been ruled out eventually if the time off and platelet-rich plasma injections don’t do the trick.

All of which means that Jose Valverde has gone from scrap-heap minor-league signing to the Mets’ closer in … well, one game. He certainly has plenty of closing experience with 286 career saves.

Parnell had velocity issues throughout spring training and it was clearly he wasn’t fully recovered from neck surgery, but the Mets were committed to sticking with him in the closer role anyway. Now the job goes to the 36-year-old Valverde, who was released by the Tigers last season after just 19 innings.

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.