Henderson Alvarez leaves start with a strained oblique

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Henderson Alvarez has been a bright spot for the Marlins this year, posting a 10-6 record with a 2.75 ERA and earning himself an All-Star appearance. His 26th start was not so good, however.

Alvarez left today’s start against the Mets in the third inning after showing apparent discomfort and decreased velocity. A few moments ago it was announced that he has a left oblique strain. He’s day to day.

The Marlins, who in the past couple of weeks have at least flirted with the wild card a bit, are now 6.5 games back of a playoff spot. Losing Alvarez for even a start or two wouldn’t do much for their already fading chances.

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.