Marco Gonzales to start on Sunday in place of Michael Wacha

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Michael Wacha won’t start on Sunday as scheduled. Marco Gonzales will be asked to toe the rubber against the Rockies instead. Manager Mike Matheny said Wacha “doesn’t look right.”

Wacha, 23, has gone only three and four innings in his two starts since returning from the disabled list on September 4. He was sidelined for two and a half months with a stress fracture in his right shoulder. In 17 starts overall this season, Wacha has a 3.14 ERA with an 89/30 K/BB ratio.

Gonzales has made four starts and two relief appearances in the majors for the Cardinals this season and has a 5.01 ERA to show for it.

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.