On the disabled list with strained flexor tendon in his elbow that threatens to end his season and by extension his career, Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett is making steady progress in his recovery.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that Burnett “feels good” after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection and could be close to throwing off a mound.
Hurdle hinted that convincing Burnett to be honest with the Pirates about how he feels will be key, because as a 38-year-old pitcher planning to retire after the season the temptation may be there to simply come back at any cost.
Burnett made the All-Star team by going 7-3 with a 2.11 ERA in the first half, but then allowed 19 runs in 16 innings over his first three post-break starts and was shut down.
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.