Sonny Gray named Opening Day starter for A’s

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The A’s announced Sunday, via MLB.com’s Jane Lee, that right-hander Sonny Gray will start on Opening Day, March 31, against the Indians.

He will be followed in the Oakland starting rotation by Scott Kazmir, Jesse Chavez, Dan Straily, and Tommy Milone — in that exact order.

Gray, 24, had a 2.67 ERA (140 ERA+), 1.019 WHIP, and 67 strikeouts in 64 innings last season. He then made two postseason starts, posting a 2.08 ERA and striking out 12 batters across 13 frames.

The 2014 Opening Day nod probably would have gone to Jarrod Parker, but he is out for the season after undergoing the second Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery of his career.

Chavez will be taking Parker’s spot, at least initially.

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.