Yankees option catcher Austin Romine to Triple-A

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It’s settled. Barring a last-minute addition, the Yankees will enter the season with a catching tandem of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart.

That became the reality this afternoon after prospect catcher Austin Romine was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre among a series of roster cuts. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said back in January that he expected Romine to begin the season in the minors, so the move doesn’t come as a big surprise.

Romine, 24, went 2-for-8 with three RBI and a run scored in six Grapefruit League games. Sending him down is the right move for his development, as he was limited to just 31 games last season due to a back injury and has only appeared in 26 games above Double-A (including five with the Yankees in 2011), but there figures to be plenty of clamoring for his callup if he gets off to a hot start and Cervelli and Stewart are as underwhelming offensively as most expect.

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.