The start of their season grows less likely by the day, but baseball players in the Houston Astros farm system will continue to be paid through Aug. 31.
The parent club of the Quad Cities River Bandits announced Friday that it will continue to pay all players currently within the Astros minor league system their current stipend and benefits through the end of August.
"With the uncertainty that our minor-league players are facing currently, this decision provides our players with assurances that they will receive a paycheck through August," Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane said in a statement. "We believe that this is the right thing to do."
General manager James Click said the organization is continuing the stipend in hopes of supporting players in what he called "these challenging times."
Like all major-league organizations, the Astros suspended organized spring training activities in mid-March because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and sent all players home at that time.
Houston did not make any roster cuts when camp was suspended but did release 17 players on Thursday including eight who had played for the River Bandits.
Pitchers Justin Ferrell (2015-16), Brett Adcock (2017), Edgardo Sandoval (2017-18), Jacob Billingsley (2019) and Luis de Paula (2019), infielders Trey Dawson (2018) and Austin Dennis (2019) and catcher Ruben Castro (2018-19) were among players cut by the organization.
With the start of the major-league season delayed and still in question as Major League Baseball and its players union debate economic and safety issues, minor-league players remain on hiatus as well.
Neither Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball, the governing body of the nation's 160 minor-league teams, have commented on when or even if there will be a minor-league season in 2020.
Quad Cities was scheduled to open its 140-game schedule on April 4 and has currently missed its first 49 scheduled games of the season.
Most major-league clubs have continued to pay minor-league players during what would have been the opening months of the season and prior to Friday's announcement, the Astros had said their minor-league players would receive a stipend through May 31.
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