Blake Snell and Kevan Smith
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Blake Snell hoping to be ready for Opening Day following elbow soreness

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Rays starter Blake Snell told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he’s hopeful he’ll be ready for the start of the season following a bout of soreness in his elbow. The former Cy Young Award winner received a cortisone shot following his first outing of spring training this past Wednesday, when he reported his discomfort to the team.

Snell underwent a procedure last July to remove bone chips from his elbow and it’s possible that this recent soreness is a residual effect of the surgery. Rays manager Kevin Cash told the Times yesterday that the trouble is in the outer part of Snell’s elbow, which means that there isn’t any concern about his UCL. A CT scan showed that there aren’t any new bone chips.

The left-hander is throwing again and says that he feels “great so the Rays might be out of the woods, but Snell wouldn’t commit to being ready to go on Opening Day just yet.

The Rays have no shortage of pitching depth in the event that Snell is unable to pitch at the start of the season. Last year’s trade for Trevor Richards provides the most immediate option to slide into the rotation, but Tampa Bay also has Brendan McKay, Anthony Banda and Jalen Beeks waiting in the wings. Former top prospect Brent Honeywell has only just started throwing as he recovers from a series of injuries, so the screwball specialist is likely still a ways away.

Snell was limited to just 107 innings last year because of the bone chips, but he’s still a formidable talent when healthy. The Rays may have the pitching to cushion any possible absence for him, but he’s still Blake Snell. They want him on the mound early and often, especially with the AL East shaping up to be a grueling slugfest with the Yankees.

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Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.