NEW YORK — Major League Baseball is raising the minimum salary for minor league players in 2021, according to a memo sent Friday from the commissioner’s office to all 30 teams and obtained by The Associated Press.

Two years after successfully lobbying Congress to exempt minor leaguers from federal minimum wage laws, MLB opted to give those players a wage increase between 38 percent and 72 percent. The bump was discussed at last week’s owners meetings and confirmed in the memo from Morgan Sword, executive vice president of baseball economics and operations.

Players at rookie and short-season levels will see their minimum weekly pay raised from $290 to $400, and players at Class A will go from $290 to $500. Double-A will jump from $350 to $600, and Triple-A from $502 to $700.

The Portland Sea Dogs play at the Double-A level.

Minor leaguers are paid only during the season and don’t receive wages during the offseason or spring training. That means Triple-A players can earn $14,000 during their five-month season, and short-season players at the lowest levels can make $4,800 during the three-month season.

“Much deserved,” tweeted Ben Verlander, who played five minor league seasons and is the younger brother of Astros star Justin. “We’d put in 12 hours a day at the baseball field and all we ask for in return is a livable wage. Love this”

The raises come as MLB is negotiating with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the governing body of the minors, to replace the Professional Baseball Agreement that expires after the 2020 seasons. MLB proposed cutting 42 of the 160 required affiliated teams during those negotiations, a plan criticized by small-town fans and politicians at the local and national level.

“MLB’s priorities include reducing the travel burden on players and improving player working conditions,” Sword wrote. “These and other objectives only can be achieved with agreement of the National Association, or absent an agreement, following the expiration of the current PBA in September. However, we can move forward unilaterally with our goal of improving compensation for minor league players.”

Upon entering pro ball, the most talented players frequently get hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars in signing bonuses, but there are also players who sign for as little as $1,000.

CODY BELLINGER thinks Houston’s Jose Altuve stole the 2017 AL MVP award from the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and the Astros swiped that year’s World Series title from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“These guys were cheating for three years,’’ Bellinger said Friday at the Dodgers spring training camp. “I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”

The reigning NL MVP, Bellinger criticized Astros owner Jim Crane’s attempt at an apology Thursday and called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s punishment “weak.” Manager AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season each, and the team was fined $5 million and stripped of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and ’21. The Astros then fired Hinch and Luhnow.

MLB found the Astros guilty of using video to steal catchers’ signs in 2017 and 2018. Bellinger thinks the conduct continued throughout last season.

“One-hundred percent,’’ Bellinger said. “I don’t know why they would stop.’’

INDIANS: Starter Mike Clevinger had surgery Friday to repair torn meniscus in his left knee after the right-hander hurt it while working out at the team’s training complex in Goodyear, Arizona.

“He was doing some drills a couple days ago,” Manager Terry Francona said. “He felt something. We took him to the training room. Then we let him go home to see how he feels. I think our trainers were a little nervous at the outset that this has meniscus written all over it. He was pretty sore so they got him an MRI.”

The Indians don’t yet have a timetable for Clevinger’s return, but it’s safe to assume he will miss at least several weeks.

ARBITRATION: Baseball’s arbitration model for relief pitchers is broken, Milwaukee closer Josh Hader said Friday after losing his case against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Hader will earn $4.1 million rather than his $6.4 million request, a decision that dropped players to 1-6 in hearings this year. Arbitrators Mark Burstein, Dan Brent and Frederic Horowitz made the decision, a day after hearing arguments.

“We’re in a unique position, the way we’re used as relievers nowadays,” Hader said. “I think the system’s just outdated on how we’re used. We’re mostly being used for lineups, not innings.”

PHILLIES: President Andy MacPhail reiterated that team ownership is willing to go over the luxury tax threshold to make the playoffs. The Phillies have made several high-profile free-agent signings over the past few seasons, including a $330 million, 13-year deal for outfielder Bryce Harper last year.

Philadelphia signed right-hander Zack Wheeler to a $118 million, five-year contract this offseason and are viewed as a potential trade destination for Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who has an $18 million salary.

“Speaking for the Phillies and ownership we’re not reluctant to go over it,” MacPhail said Friday. “It’s my hope, and frankly my expectation, that we’re going to exceed it this year.”

MARINERS: Outfielder Mitch Haniger is not likely to take the field anytime soon following his second surgery in less than a month. The Mariners said the 2018 All-Star had a lower back procedure Thursday that followed core surgery in January.

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