Yordano Ventura named Royals’ Opening Day starter

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Royals manager Ned Yost told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star on Wednesday evening that 23-year-old right-hander Yordano Ventura will start for the club on Opening Day, April 10 against the White Sox at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

Ventura will be followed in the Royals’ starting rotation by Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez, Jason Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie — in that order.

Yost said the way Ventura pitched in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series gave the entire team confidence that he is ready to be the leader of a pitching staff that lost James Shields this winter to free agency.

Ventura, one of the hardest throwers in baseball, put up a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings last year.

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.