J.J. Hardy aiming to return from back injury on Monday

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Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy was hoping that a day off last Tuesday would solve his lower back spasms, but he did not feel well enough to play on Saturday and he is out of Baltimore’s starting lineup again for Sunday afternoon’s series finale in Tampa Bay.

Hardy told MASN’s Roch Kubatko that he hopes to return to action Monday night when the O’s travel to Boston’s Fenway Park and simply didn’t want to risk a flareup on the unforgiving turf at Tropicana Field.

Baltimore boasts an MLB-high 8 1/2 game lead in the American League East standings, allowing for caution with minor injuries. Ryan Flaherty is filling in at shortstop Sunday versus the Rays as the Orioles try to avoid a three-game sweep.

Report: David Price to pay each Dodgers minor leaguer $1,000 out of his own pocket

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Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.

That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.

Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.

Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.