Red Sox sign Ryan Roberts

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In the wake of Will Middlebrooks’ calf injury the Red Sox have signed Ryan Roberts to help fill in at third base, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

Roberts was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training and hasn’t topped a .700 OPS since 2011 with the Diamondbacks, hitting .247 with five homers in limited action for the Rays last season at age 32.

He does offer plenty of positional versatility defensively and figures to see most of his action against left-handed pitching, off whom he’s hit .266 with 21 homers and a .785 OPS in 601 career plate appearances.

(Roberts also significantly increases the Red Sox’s average tattoo count, which is always a huge factor in any pennant race.)

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.