Ricky Nolasco to undergo MRI for sore elbow

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Ricky Nolasco has been a bust after joining the Twins on a big-money contract over the winter and it turns out that he’s been pitching through an injured elbow.

Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Nolasco is dealing with elbow soreness and will go for an MRI tomorrow. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire suggested that he’s been pitching with discomfort for quite some time, though assistant general manager Rob Antony said the veteran right-hander didn’t mention anything until today. It doesn’t sound promising, as Nolasco said it feels similar to the issue he had in 2007 when he missed most of the year.

The Twins were hoping that Nolasco would help lead their rotation when they gave him a four-year, $49 million contract, but his 5.90 ERA is worst among qualified pitchers (93 out of 93) and no pitcher has allowed more hits (140 in 103 2/3 innings). The injury helps explain the struggles, but this contract could soon look a lot worse.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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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.