Luis Ortiz
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Luis Ortiz pulled from first MLB start with injury

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After a disappointing debut against the Rays last weekend, the Orioles were hoping for a more stable showing from right-handed rookie Luis Ortiz when he took the mound again on Friday night. Unfortunately, the 22-year-old righty made it through just 1 2/3 innings before an apparent leg injury forced him to make an early exit from his first major league start.

The incident occurred in the top of the second inning, when Ortiz tried to beat Yoan Moncada to the bag on a grounder that skidded just past first base. He narrowly avoided a collision with Chris Davis, but may have landed too hard on his right leg and sustained an injury in the process. The rookie stayed in to pitch to Yolmer Sanchez and surrendered a walk before manager Buck Showalter and a team trainer came out to the mound to evaluate him, at which point he was quickly escorted from the field. The precise nature of the injury — and a timetable for Ortiz’s return to the mound this season — has not yet been revealed.

Jimmy Yacabonis stepped in to relieve Ortiz and induced a line out from Jose Abreu to bring a swift end to the inning. The Orioles’ offense scraped together six runs on a pair of solo home runs from Trey Mancini, Corban Joseph’s RBI single, and a handful of productive outs from Cedric Mullins and Adam Jones, but still trail the White Sox 8-6 in the ninth.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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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.