Steven Brault
AP Images

Steven Brault exits start with shoulder discomfort

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Pirates southpaw Steven Brault was pulled from Friday’s start after experiencing discomfort in his left shoulder, per an official announcement from the team. The full extent of the injury has not been revealed, nor has the team determined what amount of time Brault may miss during his recovery. Still, shoulder issues of any severity are cause for some alarm.

Brault pitched into the fifth inning of the game and had just issued a four-pitch walk to the Brewers’ Orlando Arcia when he signaled to the dugout. He consulted with manager Clint Hurdle and the club’s head athletic trainer before leaving the mound, at which point he was replaced by right-hander Michael Feliz. This appears to be the first shoulder injury of his four-year career in the majors so far.

Prior to the injury, the 27-year-old lefty issued three hits, two walks, a run, and four strikeouts across four innings pitched. Through Friday, he’s 3-1 in nine starts with a 4.15 ERA, 4.8 BB/9, and 7.9 SO/9 across 60 2/3 innings in 2019. His loss would further hamper an already-compromised rotation, one that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a collective 4.95 ERA and 5.8 fWAR.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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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 have not withdrawn their generosity.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.