Max Scherzer
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Nationals place Max Scherzer on injured list with back strain

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer is headed to the 10-day injured list, this time with a mid-back strain. Scherzer initially announced his intention to pitch through the pain when he started to feel symptoms several weeks ago, but even after receiving plenty of time off during the All-Star Break, it appears he hasn’t made a full recovery yet.

Prior to his injured list assignment, the seven-time All-Star closed out the first half of the season with a 9-5 record in 19 starts and a 2.30 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, NL-best 12.9 SO/9, and 5.5 fWAR through 129 1/3 innings. He elected to skip the All-Star Game due to his condition and told reporters he felt capable of handling his next scheduled start on Sunday versus the Phillies, though that’s clearly no longer the case.

Although an estimated return date has not been given, the move is retroactive to July 10 with a possible activation date of July 20. Scherzer received promising news after undergoing an MRI on Friday, the results of which came back negative for any serious injury. He threw the ball at 75 feet and is likely to continue working his way back to the mound over the next several weeks.

In a corresponding move, the club recalled catcher Spencer Kieboom from Double-A Harrisburg to take Scherzer’s spot on the roster. Kieboom, 28, has not appeared in a major league game since 2018, and hasn’t particularly excelled in the minors this year, either: through Friday, he’s batting just .213/.257/.291 with eight extra bases, 11 RBI, and a .549 OPS across 136 plate appearances.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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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.