Rays third baseman Matt Duffy is no longer scheduled to return to the lineup when the club goes on the road next month. Duffy told reporters Sunday that his hamstring strain and back injury will keep him off the field until mid-May at the earliest.
It’s an unfortunate setback for the 28-year-old, who battled similar hamstring issues last year and missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Achilles tendon surgery. This spring, Duffy appeared in just four Grapefruit League games and went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts while battling discomfort in his left leg. Additional tests revealed that the back pain he’d also been experiencing for the last several months was not only related to his hamstring issue, but preventing it from healing.
It’s not yet clear if Duffy will stay on track for a mid-May return, especially given the setbacks he’s encountered thus far, but the Rays would undoubtedly be happy to see any production from the infielder that approaches the .294/.361/.366 batting line, 12 steals, and 2.4 fWAR he served up in 2018. For now, however, they’re set with Yandy Díaz and backup infielder Daniel Robertson at the hot corner.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.