Johnny Cueto was scratched from tonight’s scheduled start against the Rockies and placed on the disabled list with a lat injury, leaving the Reds scrambling to find a fill-in starter. Tony Cingrani no doubt would have been the choice after pitching so well subbing for Cueto earlier this season, but he started yesterday at Triple-A.
Pedro Villarreal will make the spot start in Cueto’s place. Villarreal made his big-league debut with the Reds in September, throwing one scoreless inning in his lone appearance. This season the 25-year-old right-hander had a 5.03 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A, serving up 13 homers in 59 innings.
As for Cueto … he has a history of lat/oblique problems, including spending a month on the DL earlier this season, and has even talked about potentially needing to adjust his mechanics to avoid further injuries. He’s been fantastic in between DL stints, going 3-0 with a 2.17 ERA in six starts, but if the past is any indication Cueto may not pitch again until after the All-Star break.
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.