Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez isn’t getting any closer

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The Phillies signed right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a three-year, $12 million contract last August after he defected from his native Cuba and were hoping that he would be prepared to join their active major league roster — preferably as a member of the starting rotation — during the early part of the 2014 season. But it’s almost June and Gonzalez seems only to be taking steps backward.

The hard-throwing 27-year-old did not look very effective this spring in Phillies camp and then came down with shoulder problems in late March. Now, according to Matt Gelb at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Gonzalez is experiencing a bout of dead arm on his minor league rehab assignment with the High-A Clearwater Threshers. He had allowed seven earned runs in 9 1/3 innings over three appearances at Clearwater, so the whole effectiveness things remains an issue beyond the injury stuff.

Gonzalez is heading to Philadelphia this week to meet with club physicians. “Hopefully it’s nothing serious,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told the Inquirier on Tuesday afternoon.

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.