As if Ian Stewart’s Cubs career wasn’t off to a bad enough start thanks to a .201 batting average through 55 games now the third baseman acquired from the Rockies in December is on the disabled list with a sore left wrist.
Stewart dealt with similar wrist problems last year and was a late scratch from yesterday’s lineup, with Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reporting that he’ll be examined by a specialist and “may have nerve damage.”
That would obviously knock him out for an extended period, but in the meantime the Cubs called up journeyman Luis Valbuena from Triple-A and have him starting at third base this afternoon. Valbuena failed to produce for the Mariners and Indians in past years, but he’s still just 26 years old and has hit .304 with solid on-base skills and a little pop in 279 career games at Triple-A.
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.