John Smoltz closing in on Red Sox debut

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John Smoltz’s minor-league rehab outing last week at Double-A drew mixed reviews, as scouts in attendance were far from impressed with his post-surgery stuff despite 3.1 innings of one-run ball.

He took the mound again yesterday at high Single-A and allowed one run
over five innings. While there’s no scouting report on his outing, it’s
safe to assume that Smoltz looked pretty decent while striking out six, walking zero, allowing just four hits, and throwing 52 of 73 pitches for strikes.

“I felt really good,” Smoltz said.
“I think I’m going to get a little more complete each time. For the
most part, I’m really pleased with today’s effort. I felt really fresh
in the fifth inning, even though it’s the longest stint I’ve had.”

Smoltz has a 1.59 ERA and 10/0 K/BB ratio through three rehab
outings and will now move up to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he’s
scheduled to make two starts before potentially being cleared to join
the Red Sox’s rotation.

Rockies acquire Zac Rosscup from Cubs

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The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.

Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.

Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.

U.S. Court of Appeals affirms ruling that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law

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The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.

In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.

The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.

This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.