In one of his first personnel decisions as Nationals manager Matt Williams has decided to shift left-hander Ross Detwiler to the bullpen full time, leaving Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark to compete for the final spot in the starting rotation.
Williams told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com that Detwiler was “not happy” about the decision “but I wouldn’t expect him to be.”
Detwiler was used exclusively as a starter last season before being shut down with a herniated disk in his back and 69 of his 85 career appearances have come as a starter. However, he has a mediocre 4.02 ERA as a starter and Williams said he thinks Detwiler has a chance to be “something special out of the bullpen” as a late-inning reliever.
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.