Yesterday I made a joke that the name “Odrisamer Despaigne” sounded more like an obscure Belgian ale. Well, it does. But it seems that the name attaches to a pretty good pitcher too. Last night Despaigne tossed seven shutout innings and allowed four hits in beating the Giants. And he wasn’t even supposed to be there yesterday. He got the start because Andrew Cashner went on the DL.
Not that we should necessarily expect that. The Cuban defector wasn’t exactly sought after like Yoenis Cespedes or Arolids Chapman. The Padres got him on a minor league deal back in early May and spent six weeks in the minors, going 1-3 with a 6.03 ERA between Double- and Triple-A. He’s not overpowering — he works in the low 90s — but he flashed some pretty impressive speed-changes and arm slots last night, throwing four pitches, some in the 60s.
Junk ballers may not be as impressive as fireballers, and Despaigne may have a lot of bumps ahead of him based on his minor league track record, but it was fun to see the highlights of this one this morning.
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.