Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco won’t return in 2018 after sustaining multiple injuries during Friday’s 5-3 win over the Marlins. According to an official report from the team, Polanco is dealing with a “significant bone bruise” in his left knee and a left shoulder injury, the severity of which has yet to be disclosed as they seek a second opinion. He’ll be sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks to deal with the knee injury alone, which puts his estimated return date well past the end of the regular season.
The incident responsible for Polanco’s injuries occurred during the sixth inning of Friday’s game. The outfielder returned an 86.5-MPH slider into right-center field for a double, but jumped into a slide to avoid the tag from Starlin Castro and hurt his knee and shoulder on the landing. He had to be helped off the field and was later replaced by pinch-runner/outfielder Jordan Luplow in the right field corner.
This is the first major setback Polanco has dealt with all season. He’ll finish the year batting .254/.340/.499 with 23 home runs, an .839 OPS, and a career-high 2.5 fWAR across 534 plate appearances. The silver lining? While he will likely require a lengthy period of rest and rehabilitation before he’s cleared to resume his post in the Pirates’ outfield, there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t be ready to go by the start of spring training in 2019.
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.