The Giants-Athletics Cactus League exhibition game had just started and things immediately went downhill for starter Johnny Cueto. Billy Burns ripped his first pitch back up the middle, striking Cueto in the head. It appeared to be a glancing blow, and the right-hander stayed in after being attended to by team trainer Dave Groeschner. Burns stood on second base with a double.
The next batter, Mark Canha, hit a slow chopper between first base and the pitcher’s mound. Cueto couldn’t decide whether to commit to fielding the ball or to cover first base, so Canha ended up reaching safely. Josh Reddick promptly deposited a three-run home run over the fence in right field for a quick 3-0 lead.
Cueto was able to settle down from there, striking out Danny Valencia, then inducing consecutive ground outs from Stephen Vogt and Khris Davis.
It appears that Cueto will be fine, but not all head trauma presents immediately. The Giants will certainly have him go through concussion protocol after the game. Still, one wonders why they risked keeping him in what is really a meaningless game.
In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.
Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.
Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.