UPDATE: According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Verlander will undergo an MRI tomorrow.
8:31 p.m. ET: According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander left tonight’s start against the Pirates in the second inning due to right shoulder soreness. This isn’t what the Tigers needed after they played 19 innings yesterday against the Blue Jays.
Verlander was hit hard before exiting, allowing five runs (four earned) while throwing 40 pitches. Two errors behind him didn’t help matters, but he also gave up four hits and walked two batters. He actually came up to bat in the top of the second inning and dropped down a sacrifice bunt before being replaced by Justin Miller.
Verlander hasn’t looked like himself all season and holds a 4.76 ERA after tonight’s outing. He’s scheduled to be reevaluated tomorrow, but it’s fair to wonder how long this has been an issue.
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.