Matt Wieters likely to begin season on disabled list

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Matt Wieters came down with some tendinitis in his right elbow earlier this week after catching in a game for the first time since Tommy John surgery and now he’s essentially been ruled out for the start of the season.

According to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com, Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded today that Wieters is likely to begin the season on the disabled list. He doesn’t want to carry Wieters as a designated hitter if he can’t catch, so they aren’t going to rush his recovery. He’s nine months removed from the surgery right now, so Showalter still thinks he’s “on if not ahead of schedule.” He’ll be eligible to be activated as soon as soon as April 11.

This is a big year for Wieters, who is eligible to become a free agent this winter. Making sure that elbow is right before he returns is the top priority for both him and the Orioles. Caleb Joseph will likely open the season as the starting catcher while Steve Clevenger, J.P. Arencibia, and Ryan Lavarnway are candidates for the backup job.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.