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Bryce Harper is back in the lineup

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Bryce Harper hasn’t started since Friday night’s game against the Mets. That’s when he was hit in the hand with a pitch. It knocked him clean out of Saturday’s game and limited him to one pinch hitting appearance yesterday, in which he swung the bat several times and eventually walked.

He’s apparently feeling much better now, however, as the lineup for tonight’s Braves-Phillies game has been announced and Harper is in it, batting third and playing right field.

Harper is hitting .254/.373/.497 with 30 homers on the year. The Phillies begin play tonight two games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card in the National League, tied with the Brewers and with the Arizona Diamondbacks a half game ahead of them.

Nationals back off of minor league stipend cut

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Yesterday it was reported that the Washington Nationals would cut the weekly stipend paid to their minor leaguers from $400 a week to $300 per week through the end of June.

For frame of reference, MLB had agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through May 31. Several teams have agreed to extend that, with the Royals and Twins agreeing to do it all the way through the end of August. The Oakland A’s decided to stop the payments in their entirety as of today. The Nationals were unique in cutting $100 off of the checks.

The A’s and the Nationals have taken a great amount of flak for what they’ve done. The Nats move was immediately countered by Nationals major league players announcing that they would cover what the organization would not.

The A’s are, apparently, still sticking to their plan. The Nats, however, have reversed course:

One can easily imagine a situation in which Nats ownership just decided, cold-heartedly, to lop that hundred bucks off of each minor league check and not worry about a moment longer. What’s harder to imagine is what seems to have actually happened: the Nats did it without realizing that anyone would take issue with it, were surprised by the blowback, and then reversed course. Like, what kind of a bubble where they living in that they did not think people would consider that a low-rent thing to do?

In any event, good move, Nats, even if I cannot even begin to comprehend your thought process.