Phillies move Ryan Howard out of the cleanup spot for the first time since 2008

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Ryan Howard batted cleanup for the Phillies on Opening Day, going 2-for-5 with a walk (and three strikeouts) in a wild 14-10 win over the Rangers, but manager Ryne Sandberg is switching things up for Game 2 tonight.

Sandberg has moved Marlon Byrd into the cleanup spot against Rangers left-hander Martin Perez, sliding Howard down into the fifth spot.

And as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com points out, it’s the first time Howard has started anywhere but the cleanup spot for the Phillies since way back in 2008. June 29, 2008 to be exact. That day Pat Burrell hit cleanup, Howard batted fifth, and–here’s where it gets a little weird–the Phillies were also playing the Rangers in an interleague game in Texas.

More fun from that game: Jamie Moyer took the loss for the Phillies, C.J. Wilson was the Rangers’ last reliever used, Texas had Michael Young playing shortstop and Chris Davis batting seventh. Oh, and Marlon Byrd–who’s the guy batting cleanup for the Phillies tonight instead of Howard–was the Rangers’ center fielder and No. 6 hitter.

Scott Boras to pay salaries of released minor league clients

Scott Boras
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Across the league, scores of minor leaguers have been released in recent days. Already overworked and underpaid, these players are now left without any kind of reliable income during a pandemic, and during a time of civil unrest.

Jon Heyman reports that agent Scott Boras will pay the salaries of his minor league clients who were among those released. It’s a great and much-needed gesture. Boras described the releases as “completely unanticipated.”

Boras, of course, is perhaps the most successful sports agent of all time, so he and his company can afford to do this. That being said, it should be incumbent on the players’ teams — not their agents or their teammates — to take care of them in a time of crisis. Boras is, effectively, subsidizing the billionaire owners’ thriftiness.