Somewhere, Sammy Sosa is smiling. Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star reports that Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar strained his oblique while sneezing. Pillar is expected to miss a week of action but should still have plenty of time to be ready in time for the start of the regular season.
Baseball fans may recall that former Cubs great Sammy Sosa injured his back with a sneeze in May 2004, so Pillar is certainly not alone. The injury caused Sosa to miss more than a month of the regular season.
Pillar, 26, should get regular playing time in left field while Michael Saunders is on the disabled list. There’s a decent chance, though, that Saunders is ready by Opening Day, which would force Pillar back to the bench. Pillar hit .267/.295/.397 with two home runs and seven RBI in 122 plate appearances for the Jays last season.
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.