Oakland A’s to stop paying their minor leaguers on June 1

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The Oakland Athletics have told their minor-league players that they will no longer receive their $400 weekly stipends after June 1.

Since minor leaguers are not paid during the offseason — and since we have been in an offseason since last fall — those $400 weekly stipends came as a result of all 30 teams agreeing to do it through May 31. Now, in the absence of a league-wide agreement to extend those payments beyond May 31, the A’s are choosing to stop. It’s unclear whether other organizations will stop paying minor leaguers as well or, if they are, when they will do so.

We do know that at least one team — the Miami Marlins — will not follow the A’s lead. Baseball America reported this morning that they will continue paying their minor leaguers $400 per week through August, which would have been the end of the minor league season. It’s worth noting that, while team financial information is hard to come by, most observers around the league believe that the Athletics have been profitable in recent years while the Marlins are probably the least profitable team in the league and may very well have lost money in recent campaigns.

Beyond just minor leaguers, Baseball America has a handy article up detailing what teams are doing with respect to employees as far as salaries, layoffs, and furloughs go.

As Major League Baseball the Major League Baseball Players Association continue to negotiate over a possible 2020 season, expect to hear more news like this.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.