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César Hernández benched for lack of hustle, or so Gabe Kapler says


Phillies second baseman César Hernández thought he hit a home run in the sixth inning of Sunday afternoon’s loss to the Marlins. He didn’t hustle out of the box, so what should have been a double turned into a long single. Hernández still ended up scoring on a go-ahead two-run home run from Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies would go on to lose 3-2, dropping two of three games in Miami.

Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters, including The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro, that Hernández is not in Monday’s lineup against the Pirates because of his lack of hustle on Sunday. Kapler said, “The little things really matter right now. I thought it was appropriate to show it was meaningful to all of us.” Last night, Kapler called Hernández’s effort “an unacceptable base running play.”

One problem: Hernández said to the media that Kapler told him his absence from Monday’s lineup had nothing to do with his lack of hustle, per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb.

The Phillies have had two other non-hustle incidents this season. In June, shortstop Jean Segura didn’t run out a couple of batted balls. Kapler did not bench Segura. A month later, third baseman Maikel Franco didn’t run out a grounder. Kapler did bench Franco. So not only is there inconsistency with Kapler’s story as it pertains to Hernández, there is inconsistency in how he handles non-hustling players.

Kapler said of benching Segura, “Jean is one of our eight best players. I don’t think taking one of our eight best players and our shortstop out of our lineup is what’s best for the Philadelphia Phillies.” It’s a more progressive line of thinking as opposed to the old-school mentality of expecting every player to hustle on every single play. However, sports radio has a lot of pull in Philly and it’s a city-wide controversy every time an incident like Segura’s or Franco’s or Hernández’s pops up. There is pressure on Kapler to hold his players accountable in this particular way, even if it does hurt the team and doesn’t truly reflect Kapler’s managing style. It would not surprise me if the reason Kapler’s story isn’t straight is because he’s trying to put on a face to appease a loud portion of the fan base.

Regardless, Scott Kingery is playing second base tonight with Brad Miller at third base and Adam Haseley in center field.

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’.