Three weeks out of prison, Elijah Dukes' father dies of cancer

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It’s a pretty horrible story, one we might be hearing about more in future weeks.
According to the Washington Post, Elijah “David” Dukes Sr. died Nov. 23, just three weeks after being released following a 14-year sentence for murder. The 43-year-old fell ill after his release and was quickly diagnosed with cancer, which went undetected in prison.
The younger Dukes, of course, has had a history of run-ins with the law, though he’s stayed out of off-field troubles in the two years since being acquired by the Nationals. Getting out of his hometown of Tampa has likely helped in that regard, though he still lives there in the offseason. He was playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic when discovering the news about his father. He was able to head home and spend some time with him before he passed.
“It hit him hard,” said manager Jim Riggleman said, “because Elijah was really looking forward to his father seeing him play — and then after a few weeks, he’s gone.”
Dukes, who will probably be the Nationals’ starting right fielder next season, was expected to return to winter ball this week.

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 District 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.

Rockies place Carlos Gonzalez and Tyler Anderson on the disabled list

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The Rockies announced on Monday that outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and pitcher Tyler Anderson were placed on the 10-day disabled list. The club activated reliever Chad Qualls from the disabled list and recalled reliever Jairo Diaz from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Gonzalez, 31, is dealing with a strained right shoulder. He’s in the midst of his worst season, batting .221/.300/.348 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 277 plate appearances. Gonzalez is a free agent after the season and has been commonly brought up in trade discussions, but his latest injury and underwhelming season will make it difficult for the Rockies to get anything meaningful in return this summer.

Anderson, 27, has inflammation in his left knee. He dealt with a knee problem earlier this season, so the injury seems to have been reaggravated. The lefty has an ugly 6.11 ERA with a 63/23 K/BB ratio in 63 1/3 innings this season.

Qualls, 38, went on the disabled list earlier this month with back spasms. He had previously been dealing with forearm inflammation, so it’s been a rough year for the veteran. He is carrying a 4.60 ERA with a 9/5 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings.

Diaz, 26, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2015. He has appeared in only eight games at Triple-A as he opened the season on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. So far, Diaz has allowed three earned runs on seven hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.