UPDATE: Well, this doesn’t sound promising. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that Ventura exited due to “lateral elbow discomfort” and will be sent for an MRI.
9:36 p.m. ET: Troubling development for the Royals, as rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura was forced to exit tonight’s start against the Astros in the third inning with an apparent injury.
Ventura was getting hit around pretty good before exiting, as the Astros touched him up for five runs on seven hits and three walks over 2 2/3 innings. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes that his fastball was clocked at 91 mph against his final batter, which isn’t a promising sign. We’ll pass along more information when we get it, but hopefully another young pitcher isn’t dealing with a serious injury.
Ventura, 22, owns a 3.45 ERA and 59/19 K/BB ratio in 57 1/3 innings over 10 starts this season. Per FanGraphs, he entered tonight’s outing with an average fastball velocity of 96.7 mph, which is the highest in the majors.
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.