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MLB Notebook

Houston Astros believed to be the first to provide furnished apartments for all their minor leaguers

The Fayetteville Woodpeckers are the Houston Astros' High-A minor league farm team.
The Fayetteville Woodpeckers are the Houston Astros' High-A minor league farm team.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

The Houston Astros are providing furnished apartments to minor league players at all levels for the 2022 season, believed to be the first big league club to do so.

Players with the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters, Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, High-A Fayetteville Woodpeckers, Low-A Asheville Tourists and the franchise’s Gulf Coast League team were offered housing ahead of last week’s Opening Day, the Astros said.

Housing has been among the greatest difficulties facing minor league players, many of whom will make as little as $10,000 this season despite pay raises introduced for 2021.

Players are unable to use host families this season because of COVID-19 restrictions, and even in past years, they have routinely lived in overcrowded apartments, slept on air mattresses, or in the case of one thrifty minor leaguer, converted a school bus into a mobile home.

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Shuttling between levels is especially tricky, with players needing to find housing for undetermined amounts of time with only a day or two of notice.

The San Francisco Giants said in February of 2020 that they would begin providing allowances to cover housing, but players remain frustrated by the lack of support from teams.

MLB mandated pay raises for minor leaguers beginning this season that brought minimum weekly pay at Class A from $290 to $500. Double-A jumped from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700. Players are only compensated during the five-month regular season.

Virus-depleted Padres put Wil Myers on IL

The virus-depleted San Diego Padres made a series of moves Wednesday to bolster a lineup that is missing outfielder Wil Myers and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. after they tested positive for the coronavirus.

Myers was added to the injured list before a doubleheader against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Joining him was first baseman Eric Hosmer, who’s out because of Major League Baseball’s contact tracing health and safety protocols.

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The Padres have now had five players go on the injured list over the last two days because of virus concerns.

Tatis was ruled out Tuesday afternoon after a positive test. Padres manager Jayce Tingler said he learned of the news with Tatis in a phone call late Monday night. Tingler added the 22-year-old shortstop was symptom-free at the moment.

There was no timetable for Tatis’s return.

Blue Jays add vaccinated seating section in Buffalo home games

The Toronto Blue Jays are moving north in June and have added fully vaccinated seating sections at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, increasing the ballpark’s seating capacity to 35 percent for the first eight home games.

That’s in line with the latest guidelines from New York state. The Blue Jays will play several home games in Buffalo because of restrictions in cross-border travel between the United States and Canada because of COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated sections will be able to have full capacity.

Braves’ Mike Soroka has setback from Achilles’ surgery

Atlanta Braves righthander Mike Soroka has experienced a setback in his recovery from surgery to repair his torn right Achilles’ tendon and will have a follow-up procedure next week.

Soroka was the Braves’ Opening Day starter in 2020. He suffered the season-ending injury against the Mets on Aug. 3.

Soroka, 23, had not begun throwing but was expected to return to the rotation this season. Now those plans are in doubt.

Manager Brian Snitker said Soroka will have exploratory surgery early next week in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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Soroka emerged as one of the foundations of the Braves’ rotation in 2019, when he went 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA. The Canadian earned a spot in the All-Star Game, finished second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting and sixth for the Cy Young Award.