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Cubs activate Craig Kimbrel

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Two weeks ago today the Cubs placed closer Craig Kimbrel on the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his right elbow. Today he was activated. He’ll be available for tonight’s game against the Cardinals in Chicago.

It’s been a lost season in multiple ways for Kimbrel. He was left unsigned until inking a three-year, $43 million contract on June 6. The lack of a spring training and a normal season routine may or may not have contributed to his injury woes, but it’s hard to see how it could’ve helped. As it was this was his second stint on the injured list. He was out with a knee injury between August 4-17 and has only tossed nine innings on the season.

He has a chance now to help the Cubs who are in a pitched battle for a playoff spot, either as NL Central champs — they currently trail the Cardinals by three games — or as an NL Wild Card rep.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.