On Friday night, Athletics third baseman Brett Lawrie slid hard into second base in an attempt to break up a double play. In doing so, he injured Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar’s knee. It was, it appears, a dirty slide even if Lawrie didn’t intend to cause an injury.
Lawrie attempted to apologize to Escobar after the game, but there were some crossed wires there.
Lawrie received a lusty booing from the home crowd in Kansas City prior to his first at-bat in the top of the third inning in Saturday night’s game. He and catcher Salvador Perez had a brief chat at home plate before the at-bat began. Lawrie grounded out to third base for the first out.
In the fourth, the Athletics broke out for five runs, capped by a Josh Reddick three-run home run off of Ventura. Reddick bats directly in front of Lawrie. Ventura started off with an 85 MPH curve out of the zone, then hit Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball. Ventura was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. Lawrie walked directly to first base.
Yohan Pino came in to relieve Ventura.
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.