Jose Veras returns to the Astros on a minor league deal

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Released by the Braves during spring training, veteran reliever Jose Veras has signed a minor-league deal with the Astros.

Veras spent the second half of last season with the Astros and pitched well with a 3.03 ERA and 37/16 K/BB ratio in 33 innings, but he never gained much traction as a 34-year-old free agent.

Veras has a 3.91 career ERA, including a 3.70 ERA with 322 strikeouts in 295 innings since 2010, so it’s somewhat surprising that it took this long for a team to grab him as a potential middle relief option.

For now he’ll head to extended spring training.

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.