Ramon Laureano
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Athletics, Rangers benches empty after Ramón Laureano home run dispute


Things got dicey in the eighth inning of Saturday’s Athletics-Rangers game, inspiring some questionable rhetoric around MLB’s current “Let The Kids Play” campaign. With two outs and a runner on first, Ramón Laureano stepped to the plate in an attempt to extend the A’s slight one-run lead. Instead, he found himself on the receiving end of a hit-by-pitch from Rangers reliever Rafael Montero.

Both benches emptied in the moments after the plunking, though Montero and Rangers skipper Chris Woodward were the only ones ejected at the end of the scrum. The origin of the Montero-Laureano beef began in the sixth inning, when Laureano not only admired his 413-foot homer off of Rangers starter Adrian Sampson, but also had some choice words to share with the pitcher as he started to round the bases — prompting the A’s dugout to clear in anticipation of a bigger confrontation.

Laureano later clarified some of his comments to Sampson, claiming that the pitcher had ‘stepped on his bat’ at the end of the fourth inning and that he had invited Sampson to ‘step on it again’ after depositing an 88-m.p.h. changeup over the left field wall.

Granted, there’s some allowance for a batter to admire a home run, to enjoy his own performance and maybe take the game a little less seriously than the unwritten rules stipulate. (Speaking to MLB.com’s Martín Gallegos, Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus disagreed with the premise of ‘Let The Kids Play’ as it pertained to those who were no longer new to the game. “They’re pimping every homer,” he said. “[…] The guys that hit a homer, they’re like 30 years old! That counts for like 20 years old, that’s a kid for me. If you’re 30, it doesn’t count as let the kids play. It says ‘Let The KIDS Play,’ not ‘Let The Old Guys Play.’” Laureano, for what it’s worth, is 25.)

Had Laureano simply taken a brief moment to admire his homer before jogging the bases, his actions might have been taken in that spirit. But given the subsequent staredown and jawing between the two, not to mention the pitch Laureano later took off of his shoulder, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen.

The clubs will face off one more time during Sunday’s series finale at 4:07 PM EDT. Whether they’re content to put Saturday’s events behind them remains to be seen.

Rangers, Padres, White Sox to continue paying minor leaguers

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In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.

Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.

Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.