Sergio Escalona to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery

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According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros announced this morning that left-hander Sergio Escalona has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery next week.

Escalona, who was acquired from the Phillies last January, posted a 2.93 ERA and 25/11 K/BB ratio over 27 2/3 innings out of Houston’s bullpen last season. The 27-year-old held left-handed batters to a .188/.278/.313 batting line and a .590 OPS.

With Escalona sidelined, Wesley Wright and Fernando Abad will likely compete for the team’s left-handed specialist job. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow hasn’t dismissed the possibility of using non-roster invitee Zach Duke out of the bullpen if he doesn’t win a spot in the starting rotation.

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.