According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets have decided to shut down Zack Wheeler after he complained of shoulder stiffness following his most recent start. The 22-year-old was slated to make one more start on Monday against the Reds, but that won’t happen now. The shoulder issue isn’t a major concern and won’t require an MRI, but Mets manager Terry Collins said that they don’t want to push it after what happened with Matt Harvey.
Wheeler made his major league debut in June and ended up posting a 3.42 ERA and 84/46 K/BB ratio over 100 innings. He faded a bit this month, walking 12 batters in 17 innings, but the Mets have to be pleased with what they saw during his first stint in the big leagues.
Wheeler will wrap up the year with 168 2/3 innings between the majors and minors, a 20-inning jump from what he threw last year between Double-A and Triple-A. If healthy, he should have a chance to progress to the 200-inning mark during his first full season in the majors next year.
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.