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Pedro Strop thinks he’ll be back before the end of the season

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Cubs closer Pedro Strop strained his hamstring last week and, at the time, the club said that he’d miss the rest of the regular season. He’s not so sure. Yesterday he said that he expects to return to game action before the playoffs begin. Strop told reporters that “everything is pain-free.”

Strop took over as the closer from Brandon Morrow, whose season is definitely over. Since Strop went down Steve Cishek, Justin Wilson, Jesse Chavez, Jorge De La Rosa, and Carl Edwards Jr. are handling ninth-inning duties on a rotating basis.

Strop is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 57/21 in 59.2 innings on the year. Getting him back would be a big deal for Chicago as they get ready for the postseason.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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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.