Henry Urrutia didn’t travel with the Orioles for their road trip to Toronto that begins tonight because the Cuban defector can’t get into Canada due to immigration issues.
Instead he’ll head to Florida to work out at the Orioles’ spring training complex and Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports that the team may decide to simply shut him down for the season. “I alerted him to the fact that it could go either way so he didn’t take three changes of clothes down there,” manager Buck Showalter told Dubroff.
Urrutia initially got a July call-up after hitting .365 at Triple-A, but struggled and was sent back to the minors. He returned when rosters expanded on September 1, but has started just once since then as Showalter has gone with veterans Danny Valencia and Wilson Betemit in the designated hitter spot.
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.