Pirates starter Chris Archer underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair a bilateral hernia, Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The Pirates say Archer is expected to be on schedule or close to it for the 2019 season.
Archer, 30, was traded by the Rays to the Pirates ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. He battled a groin injury with his new team, ultimately settling on offseason surgery. Overall, Archer posted a 4.31 ERA with a 162/49 K/BB ratio in 148 1/3 innings.
Archer is under contract next season at $7.5 million. The Pirates have club options for the 2020 and ’21 seasons for $9 million and $11 million, respectively, with respective buyouts of $1.75 million and $250,000.
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.