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MLB announces interim support for minor leaguers

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After a week of increasing pressure on Major League Baseball to do something to support minor leaguers, Major League Baseball just announced a plan to offer them interim assistance.

Under the plan, each player who is under a minor league uniform player contract will receive a lump sum equal to the allowances that they would have received through April 8th. As it stood, minor leaguers did not get paid during spring training but did receive a few hundred dollars a week during spring training and until the season started. This represents that money in a single bundle. It’s not a lot, but it puts them where they would’ve been to some degree. Of course they have experienced disruption and unexpected travel and all of that as well, which this does not account for.

There are exceptions to the plan. Per MLB’s announcement: “non-40-man-roster players who are already receiving Major League allowances, players who are currently receiving housing, food or other services from clubs; and players who were not participating in, or expected to participate in, Minor League Spring Training.” will not receive the lump sum.

Again, the league says this is an interim step and that, “MLB remains in communication with Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for Minor League player compensation from April 9th through the beginning of the coming season.” Whenever that is.

From the official announcement:

MLB takes the community impact of this crisis seriously.  We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts to protect fans, players and ballpark workers, and we urge all baseball fans to follow suit.  MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.

There will, no doubt, be more to come.

Bryce Harper played some third base in an intrasquad game

Bryce Harper third base
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Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.

Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.

Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”

Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.

Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.