Phillies owner John Middleton informed the team’s employees Friday that no one will be laid off or forced to take a pay cut through at least the end of May, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. “I am neither an epidemiologist nor a public policy maker, but I do know our industry, and it is my sincere belief that baseball will be played this year,” Middleton wrote in a letter, adding that there’s no reason to reduce the club’s budget when he’s under the impression that “a meaningful number of games” will take place in 2020. The Phillies are just the second team to commit to no cuts through May, joining the division-rival Braves. More teams are expected to follow, however, with the Giants the latest team to make the commitment, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.
- The Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt has set up camp in his Jupiter-area home during the quarantine, but he’s finding new ways to keep his head in the game. Thanks to a virtual reality product from WIN Reality, Goldschmidt can simulate at-bats against any pitcher in the game, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goldschmidt got enough exposure to live pitching in spring training to fully test his new virtual reality gear, and he came away impressed with its accuracy. Goldy is working out in more traditional ways as well, but the VR gear is giving him an opportunity to rest his elbow while still simulating game experience.
- The Pirates under Clint Hurdle became known for contentious run-ins with other teams due to their proclivity for throwing up and in. The bad rap was furthered by pitchers Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow developing into aces once having left Pittsburgh. But Derek Shelton runs the dugout in Pittsburgh now, and it remains to be seen how the culture will change under new leadership. Shelton spoke to some of his tendencies, however, including how he will let statistics and the extenuating circumstances determine how often he lets his starters go through a lineup a third time (as much as how the pitcher is performing on any given day), per Mike Persak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Shelton also spoke about the closer role, where he expects Keone Kela to serve as a traditional closer.