Amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday, the Yankees reinstated third baseman Gio Urshela from the 10-day injured list, where he spent the minimum amount of time rehabbing a left groin strain. They also reinstated second baseman Thairo Estrada from the IL and recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka and second baseman Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It’s welcome news for Urshela, whose first campaign with the Yankees has been explosive, to say the least. Prior to landing on the injured list — the result of an inadvertent groin injury during a contest against the Mariners in late August — the 27-year-old infielder touted a jaw-dropping .331/.370/.555 batting line with 18 home runs, a .924 OPS, and a career-high 3.1 fWAR through 414 plate appearances. He’ll continue to round out the club’s top five hitters behind DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Brett Gardner.
Even if those numbers prove unsustainable following Urshela’s recovery, it’s excellent timing for the Yankees, who will need a stable roster of sluggers when the calendar flips to October. Entering Sunday, they’re currently positioned at the top of the AL East division with a sizable 8.5-game lead over the second-place Rays.
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 have not withdrawn their generosity.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.