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Braves put closer Vizcaino on DL with right oblique strain

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves have placed struggling closer Arodys Vizcaino on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain.

Vizcaino left Friday night’s 11-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies after throwing three pitches in the ninth. It was his first appearance since he missed four straight games with an infection on his right elbow.

Interim Braves manager Brian Snitker indicated that Jim Johnson, who had 101 saves for the Baltimore Orioles from 2012-13, will get the first chance to close. Snitker also might use rookie Mauricio Cabrera.

Reliever Eric O’Flaherty was reinstated from the disabled list to take Vizcaino’s spot on the roster.

The team doesn’t know how long Vizcaino will be sidelined.

“It’s just time-consuming,” Snitker said. “You’ve got to calm everything down until you don’t feel anything before you start throwing again or you end up really screwing things up. You’ve just got be patient wanting to get back and get everything good again.”

Vizcaino’s hold on the job was tenuous before his latest injury. Though he’s converted 19 of 23 save chances since last season, Vizcaino has a 5.11 ERA with 14 walks in his last 15 games.

Vizcaino went 1-0 with a 1.52 ERA with seven walks in his first 23 games.

Snitker said the Braves, who own baseball’s worst record, view Vizcaino as a long-term solution in the back of their bullpen.

“I talked to him a few weeks ago,” Snitker said. “He’s a huge part of what we’re trying to do here. He’s a young kid who cares a lot. What he brings is going to be valuable to the Atlanta Braves for a long time.”

Vizcaino was suspended for the first 80 games last season after testing positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing drug. He had elbow ligament reconstructive surgery and missed the 2012 and ’13 seasons.

O’Flaherty had a 1.50 ERA with no walks and eight strikeouts in six rehab appearances.

The Royals are paying everyone. Why can’t all of the other teams?

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Over the past several weeks we’ve heard a lot of news about teams furloughing front office and scouting staff, leveling pay cuts for those who remain and, most recently, ceasing stipends to minor league players and releasing them en masse. The message being sent, intentionally or otherwise, is that baseball teams are feeling the pinch.

The Kansas City Royals, however, are a different story.

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Royals are paying their minor leaguers through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended, and unlike so many other teams, they are not releasing players either. Jeff Passan, meanwhile, reports that the Royals will not lay any team employees off or furlough anyone. “Nearly 150 employees will not take pay cuts,” he says, though “higher-level employees will take tiered cuts.” Passan adds that the organization intends to restore the lost pay due to those higher-level employees in the future when revenue ramps back up, making them whole.

While baseball finances are murky at best and opaque in most instances, most people agree that the Royals are one of the lower-revenue franchises in the game. They are also near the bottom as far as franchise value goes. Finally, they have the newest ownership group in all of baseball, which means that the group almost certainly has a lot of debt and very little if any equity in the franchise. Any way you slice it, cashflow is likely tighter in Kansas City than almost anywhere else.

Yet the Royals are paying minor leaguers and front office employees while a great number of other teams are not. What’s their excuse?