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Luis Severino to be shut down for six weeks due to lat strain

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The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler reports that Yankees starter Luis Severino will be shut down from throwing for six weeks due to a Grade 2 lat strain. As Adler notes, this is a new injury. Severino began the season on the injured list due to rotator cuff inflammation. The Yankees believe Severino suffered the lat injury following his rotator cuff diagnosis.

Severino, 25, may not pitch until the second half of the season. That’s bad news for the Yankees as Severino has established himself as one of the best starters in baseball over the past two seasons. A two-time All-Star, Severino went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 striekouts across 191 1/3 innings last season, helping the Yankees reach the postseason.

Domingo Germán has filled in for Severino in the rotation. So far, so good. Through his first two starts, Germán has limited the opposition to three runs (two earned) on three hits and seven walks with 10 strikeouts over 11 innings. The seven walks, however, don’t portend sustained success, so Severino’s latest setback may further encourage the Yankees to consider starter Dallas Keuchel, who is still a free agent.

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.