Brad Lidge needs “about six more appearances” in the minors

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Brad Lidge threw a scoreless inning last night at Double-A in his fourth minor-league rehab appearance, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be cleared to return from the disabled list this week.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Lidge “still could require about six more appearances” in the minors before the Phillies consider activating him, which jibes with the rehab timetable laid out by the team earlier this month.

Lidge has been on the DL for the entire season with shoulder and elbow problems, but has thrown four innings of one-run ball in the minors while striking out six and walking none.

Jose Contreras’ recent setback means the Phillies need a healthy Lidge in the second half more than ever, but Ryan Madson being on the verge of returning from his own stint on the DL gives them some leeway to be cautious with Lidge’s comeback. Oh, and having the best record in baseball at 57-34 helps too. Philadelphia’s focus at this point should be October, not July.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.