Royals outfielder Jorge Soler isn’t guaranteed to return to the field this season, manager Ned Yost told reporters Sunday. Soler had been working his way back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list after he fractured his left toe in mid-June, but experienced an unanticipated setback in his recovery this week and is no longer a lock to rejoin the team before the end of 2018.
Soler, 26, is in his second year with the Royals following a swap for the Cubs’ Wade Davis in the 2016 offseason. This was shaping up to be his most productive season to date: prior to the injury, he slashed .265/.354/.466 with nine home runs and an .820 OPS through 257 plate appearances for the team. During his two-game rehab stint at Triple-A Omaha, he went 2-for-8 with a pair of base hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
While Yost didn’t reveal the exact nature of the setback, it doesn’t sound like Soler is facing anything serious enough to compromise his playing time in 2019. Surgery was ruled out as a potential fix for the fracture earlier this season, and it’s likely that Soler is just looking at another few weeks of rest and rehabilitation at this point. The Royals, meanwhile, still have several options in the right field corner, with Jorge Bonifacio and Rosell Herrera to continue holding down the fort in Soler’s absence.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.