Johnny Cueto departs Game 1 of NLDS due to back spasms

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Brutal development for the Reds out in San Fran.

Staff ace Johnny Cueto was lifted from Saturday night’s NLDS Game 1 against the Giants just eight pitches in after appearing to tweak his side or back on a delivery to No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro.

Cueto immediately hunched over after the toss and walked off the field alongside two trainers without making much of an argument. It’s safe to wonder whether he’s done for the rest of the postseason.

Sam LeCure, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 57 1/3 regular-season innings, took the mound in his place.

Cueto had a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/49 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year for the NL Central champs.

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UPDATE, 10:14 PM: Cueto has been diagnosed with back spasms and is merely listed as day-to-day. Considering how bad the situation looked initially, this seems like promising news for the Reds.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.