Video: Bryce Harper ties for MLB lead in homers, Nelson Cruz quickly unties (again)

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On May 19, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hit his 15th home run of the season off of Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning, moving into a tie with Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz for the major league lead. Cruz, however, retook the MLB lead in home runs, blasting number 16 in the third inning off of Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez not too long after.

It happened again on Friday night. Bryce Harper tied Cruz for the MLB lead when he ripped an opposite-field blast off of Phillies starter Sean O’Sullivan in the second inning. About an hour later, Cruz hit a solo shot off of Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada in the sixth inning, taking the MLB lead again at 17.

Harper’s blast:

[mlbvideo id=”126094883″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

Cruz’s blast can be seen here.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.