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Phillies move Jerad Eickhoff to bullpen


Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Phillies are moving struggling starter Jerad Eickhoff to the bullpen. The club hasn’t yet decided how it will fill the gap. “Everything is on the table,” manager Gabe Kapler said, which includes the use of an opener.

Eickhoff, 28, was on the hook for five of the eight home runs the Phillies allowed to the Diamondbacks on Monday as both teams set a new major league record with 13 combined homers. The right-hander, who underwent an offseason procedure to address his carpal tunnel syndrome, started off the year on a great note, carrying a 1.50 ERA through his fifth start on May 8. Since then, however, Eickhoff has allowed 27 runs in 27 1/3 innings, including 16 home runs.

Vince Velasquez, who was recently demoted to the bullpen, could return to the rotation to take Eickhoff’s spot. The Phillies, though, are even more short-handed in the bullpen and may need to keep Velasquez there. Enyel De Los Santos or Cole Irvin could be called back up. Ranger Suárez could join the rotation.

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.