UPDATE: Ryan Howard lifted with sprained left ankle

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UPDATE, 2:58 PM:  X-rays on both his left elbow and left ankle were negative, reports David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Howard will miss a few days because of the sprain, but it appears that the Phillies have avoided a major scare.

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UPDATE, 2:09 PM:  Howard’s injury is being called a left ankle sprain, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.  He will undergo X-rays to ensure that there is no serious structural damage.

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2:02 PM:  Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had to be helped off the field Sunday after apparently injuring his left knee or ankle while running the bases in the first inning.  The scene was capture here in this photo posted by Major League Baseball’s official Twitter page.

Howard, batting .292 with an .884 OPS, 23 homers and 81 RBI, was replaced at first base by Cody Ransom.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.