23-year-old John Gant made the Braves’ Opening Day roster after making five solid appearances for the club during spring training. He gave up four runs on 10 hits and two walks with 10 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.
Coming through the Mets’ and Braves’ minor league systems, Gant showed some decent stuff, an ability to miss bats while not walking too many hitters. As the minor leagues aren’t nearly as well-covered as the major leagues, the most interesting facet about Gant flew under the radar: his delivery.
As you can see from his appearance on Wednesday against the Nationals, Gant moves his left foot on the mound a few times, picks up his leg, puts it down again, then picks it up again and throws normally. As Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson explains, “it’s not a balk because he does it the same way every time.” Simpson also explains Gant’s “Vulcan” change-up, in which he holds the baseball between his middle and ring fingers. Pretty cool.
[mlbvideo id=”576962683″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
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.