Wild Card Game: A’s vs. Royals lineups

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Here are the lineups for tonight’s Wild Card Game between the A’s and Royals, in Kansas City:

Athletics:
CF Coco Crisp
LF Sam Fuld
3B Josh Donaldson
DH Brandon Moss
RF Josh Reddick
SS Jed Lowrie
1B Stephen Vogt
C Geovany Soto
2B Eric Sogard

SP Jon Lester

Adam Dunn, who served as the A’s primary designated hitter down the stretch, is out of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher. Dunn posted a .783 OPS versus righties this season, with 20 homers in 370 at-bats. His absence opens up the DH spot for Brandon Moss, except he’s struggled throughout the second half while playing through a major hip injury.

Another surprise is Derek Norris being on the bench and Geovany Soto catching Jon Lester, which he’s never done before. Kansas City runs a lot and Norris has struggled throwing people out, but it’s still unexpected. A’s manager Bob Melvin is going defense-heavy in this game, with Soto and Sam Fuld.

Royals:
SS Alcides Escobar
RF Norichika Aoki
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Billy Butler
LF Alex Gordon
C Salvador Perez
2B Omar Infante
3B Mike Moustakas

SP James Shields

Standard lineup for the Royals, who used the same nine players and the same batting order in each of the final eight games. Josh Willingham, acquired from the Twins in August to hit left-handed pitching, is on the bench versus a lefty. Eric Hosmer has a sub-.700 OPS off lefties and is batting cleanup.

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.