As first reported by Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery on Thursday morning. The season-ending elbow procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Florida.
Vazquez began experiencing discomfort in his throwing elbow in mid-March and an MRI taken March 27 revealed structural damage in his ulnar collateral ligament. The rehab process doesn’t take as long for position players as it does for pitchers, so the 24-year-old should be ready to rock when camp opens next spring.
Ryan Hanigan is set to open the 2015 season as Boston’s starting catcher. And top prospect Blake Swihart can now be put on the fast track (if he wasn’t already). Vazquez may become a trade candidate in 2016.
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.