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Yankees’ Aaron Judge says rib improving, also had collapsed lung



New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge told reporters Friday that his fractured rib is improving and also disclosed that he suffered a partially collapsed lung.

Two weeks ago, manager Aaron Boone said a fractured rib revealed by a CT scan was why Judge had been suffering tightness in his shoulder and pectoral area, thus significantly limiting his baseball activities since early February.

The Yankees never divulged that the pneumothorax, commonly called a collapsed lung. Judge said a scheduled CT scan Friday showed the pneumothorax had fully healed and that had been slight progress in the healing of the rib.

“The pneumothorax came back completely gone, which a good thing,” Judge told reporters outside Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. “Good to go, which means I can fly if I needed to go home. A little thing on the lung that we were having a little issue with but that was all healed up. … The bone is healing the way it should be.”

Judge said he would have another test in a few weeks “and go from there.”

WIth the season delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Judge likely will have time to fully heal without surgery. He has been doing light workouts at Steinbrenner Field alongside a few teammates, including Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Tyler Wade.

“That’s the silver lining in all this,” Judge said. “I think just having the ability to not feel rushed trying to get back, you know, for a certain date.”

The 27-year-old said the problem dated to a game against the Los Angeles Angels last September, when he heard “a crack and pop” in his chest on a diving attempt in the outfield.

While states like New York and California have called for all nonessential businesses to shut down due to the pandemic, it is currently not a mandate in Florida.

“The great thing is they have this open so we can come here and still do some baseball activity and stay ready, just kind of feel like we’re still in baseball mode,” Judge said. “[The team] kind of told us we can do whatever, but I got a place here [in Tampa] so I might as well just stay here and still work with the guys that we have as long as they don’t shut us down.”

Players were encouraged to return to their respective homes or to their home club’s city, but those with homes in the Tampa Bay area have elected to remain in the area due to varying concerns.

“It looks like the season is getting pushed back further. A lot of guys are still here as long as this is open,” pitcher Zack Britton, the Yankees players’ union representative, said Friday.

“Obviously, there’s a ban on gatherings of 50 more people, so if the Health Department or the CDC want to shut facilities down, then the team’s hands are tied, and guys will have to find another place to work out. And most guys wouldn’t have an alternative workout option in Tampa, maybe even not at home. So guys are in a tricky spot, but a lot of guys are still planning on hanging around.”

The Yankees have had two minor-league player test positive for coronavirus. The team’s minor-league complex will be shut down until at least March 25 under the directive of the Department of Health.

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MLB stars hit social media to share feelings on George Floyd



Major League Baseball players joined the wave of athletes, coaches and executives speaking out about their grief and anger over the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, 46, died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin, fired last Tuesday, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers were also fired, but have not been charged. The death of Floyd sparked unprecedented nationwide protests across the United States over the weekend.

“Racism is thriving in America. That’s a fact.” said New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, who is black. “If you choose to turn a blind eye towards it … you’re part of the problem that will continue to destroy this nation. Wake up and look in the mirror!”

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts, one of the most prominent black stars in baseball, shared his thoughts on the death of Floyd on Instagram.

Twins outfielder Byron Buxton calls Minnesota his baseball home, and he took to Instagram to demand progress and justice in the wake of Floyd’s death.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton posted a Nike advertisement addressing the death of Floyd while sharing his own message.

“Enough is enough. It’s going to take everyone to help this system change,” Stanton said. “No matter you color or attributes, we are all human, who know what’s right deep down. Making a real change with be Justice for Floyd & everyone who came before him. Let’s all be a part of the change.”

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen kept his message short and simple.

“I don’t want pity,” McCutchen says. “I want change.”

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler reacted to the death of Floyd on Instagram.

“The race card. We hold it. You tell us ‘it’s not about race’ if we ever hold you to it. You don’t want us to have even that 1 bone chilling ‘privilege’ of defense,” Fowler said in part. “You don’t want us to hold any privilege. We don’t hold the privilege of being a criminal, making a mistake, or simply taking a jog, the same as a white man, and being treated the same. He couldn’t breathe. He was murdered. They were gently fired from their jobs. This isn’t right. This can’t go on.”

Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson, one of baseball’s most outspoken athletes on black issues, posted photos from the protests on the streets of Chicago.

Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle became one of the first baseball players to speak out about the death of Floyd when he shared a message last Friday with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

“Racism is America’s Original Sin,” said Doolittle, who is white. “It was here before we even forged a nation, and has been passed down from generation to generation. And we still struggled to acknowledge that it even exists, much less atone for it. The generational trauma of racism and violence is killing black men and women before our eyes.”

Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Cole Tucker shared his thoughts on Twitter alongside a quote from Malcolm X.

“I wish America cared about black folks as much as they care about buildings,” Tucker said.

Adam Wainwright shared a message with his wife Jenny featuring a photo of their adopted black son, Caleb.

“I hate that the innocence and joy will be stolen from him when he learns of the prejudices men of color deal with,” said Jenny Wainwright. “I can’t imagine how much that will hurt. How scary it will feel! I want to keep him like this, knowing nothing but pure unconditional love.”

Wainwright’s battery mate Yadier Molina posted a photo of his children on Instagram with a message of love and understanding written in Spanish.

Retired two-time MVP Dale Murphy said in Twitter thread that his son was shot in the eye with a rubber bullet while protesting on behalf of Floyd.

“As terrible as this experience has been, we know that it’s practically nothing compared to the systemic racism and violence against Black life that he was protesting in the first place,” said Murphy, who is white. “Black communities across America have been terrorized for centuries by excessive police force. If you’re a beneficiary of systemic racism, then you will not be able to dismantle it at no cost to yourself. You will have to put yourself at risk.”

Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty posted a pair of notes on Twitter with the caption, “I CANT BREATHE,” the last words of Floyd.

“The system continues to fail time and time again and nothing seems to change,” Flaherty said. “Officers are not being held accountable for their actions. The badge and blue uniform are not a pedestal that puts a citizen of the United States of America above the law. The badge and blue uniform are there to distinguish those who are meant to PROTECT their communities, not terrorize and kill those that are meant to protect and serve.”

White Sox starter Lucas Giolito also shared a note on Twitter captioned with #BlackLivesMatter and announced that he would be working with Color of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in America.

“Black men & women like Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor will continue to die on the streets & in their homes if we don’t stand alongside them, echoing their voice loud & clear and demand real change and accountability,” Giolito said.

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, a native of Curacao, shared a message on his Twitter account.

“Most people in power don’t really care about the ones struggling and use their knowledge and deception to keep the same system and stay in power,” Simmons said. “We can’t keep doing this to each other. We need to change the system. It starts with ourselves.”

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso shared a short message on his Instagram story.

“I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because the color of my skin,” Alonso said. “To anyone who faces this type of discrimination, I will fight for you and be an ally. I will always stand with you. There needs to be justice and change made for the better of humanity.”

Boston Red Sox outfielder Kevin Pillar shared his former Toronto teammate Stroman’s message and added some of his own.

“I also believe people are afraid to stand out/standup, make themselves vulnerable and go against what has sadly become the norm,” Pillar said. “If you hear/see something you disagree with, don’t be afraid to stand your ground or speak up.”

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Nationals players to cover minor leaguers’ lost weekly stipend wages, Sean Doolittle says



The Washington Nationals‘ major league players have pledged to cover minor leaguers’ lost wages from their weekly stipends, pitcher Sean Doolittle announced on social media.

Last week, the Nationals cut their minor leaguers weekly stipend from $400 to $300 per week, according to multiple reports. That came as hundreds of minor leaguers across baseball lost their jobs, with more expected, with the cancellation of the minor league season a near certainty, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

On Sunday, Doolittle posted a statement on Twitter vowing to help out the minor leaguers in his organization.

“All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during these uncertain times,” he wrote.

“Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be cancelled. We recognize that and want to stand with them in support.”

Doolittle isn’t the only major leaguer to pledge support for minor leaguers. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price plans to give each minor leaguer not on the 40-man roster in that franchise’s system, $1,000 for the month of June, sources told ESPN, confirming a report by Francys Romero. The Dodgers had already committed to paying their minor leaguers $400-per-week stipends through the end of June.

For more than a year, MLB has planned to contract about a quarter of minor league teams before the 2021 season. Compounding that with a drastically shortened amateur draft — just five rounds this year instead of the typical 40 — and the delay of international free-agent signings until as late as Jan. 15, minor league systems could be as thin as they have been in years.

All teams agreed to pay minor league players $400 a week in April and May to cover wages lost because of canceled games. The $400 salary was given by MLB regardless of what the players were supposed to make, including to hundreds of players who had been contracted to make several times that amount.

The Oakland Athletics told their minor league players they would no longer receive the stipend starting in June, drawing significant criticism. At least 16 teams have said they will pay minor league players beyond the policy’s May 31 expiration date.

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