Bud Norris
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Bud Norris ends 2018 season with hamstring injury

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It’s been a rough month for Cardinals reliever Bud Norris, who likely saw his 2018 season come to an abrupt end after departing Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Cubs with a left hamstring injury. While the right-hander doesn’t appear to be facing a serious setback, club manager Mike Shildt told reporters that he’ll likely hold Norris back from any relief appearances over the last two games of the regular season.

Norris, 33, entered Friday’s game in the bottom of the seventh inning and almost immediately slipped on the mound during Kyle Hendricks‘ at-bat. Hendricks took a five-pitch walk to open the inning, then advanced to third base on David Bote‘s single and a throwing error by Jedd Gyorko. With runners on the corners and no outs, Norris still appeared to be in some pain and made his exit from the mound following a brief conference with Shildt and a team trainer. He was later diagnosed with left hamstring tightness.

Although the veteran righty hasn’t paid an official visit to the disabled list this season, he’s weathered a variety of minor injuries over the last several months, from a bout of right hip discomfort to a blister issue on his pitching hand. He’ll prepare to enter free agency this fall after rounding out his 10th year in the majors with a career-high 28 saves, 3.59 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, and 10.5 SO/9 through 57 2/3 innings.

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.