Blue Jays manager John Gibbons recently pegged Brett Cecil as the favorite to begin the season as the closer, but Barry Davis of Sportsnet reports that the southpaw is going to be shut down for the next few days due to rotator inflammation.
Cecil was scratched from his scheduled appearance yesterday and an MRI showed the inflammation. As of now, he’s hoping to resume throwing on Tuesday and get into a game by the end of next week. However, it will all depend on how he feels in the coming days.
Cecil’s situation could have a big impact on what the Blue Jays decide to do with young right-hander Aaron Sanchez. The 22-year-old made his major league debut last year and posted a 1.09 ERA and 27/9 K/BB ratio in 33 innings out of Toronto’s bullpen, but he’s being stretched out as a starter this spring.
Cecil, 28, compiled a 2.70 ERA and 76/27 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings over 66 appearances last season.
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.