Benches clear in Cards-Reds game, La Russa and Baker get the boot

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Things just got pretty heated between the Cardinals and Reds in the bottom of the first inning.

Brandon Phillips (who else?) exchanged words with Yadier Molina behind the plate as he was set to lead off the bottom of the first inning, clearing the benches. They were quickly separated from each other, but things didn’t really go bananas until Scott Rolen went after his former teammate Chris Carpenter. Really.

There was plenty of pushing and pulling going on and Tuesday’s starter Johnny Cueto unleashed a flurry of kicks with his back against the screen, as you’ll see in this image, provided by MLB’s Twitter feed.

Oddly, only Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Reds manager Dusty Baker were tossed from the game, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

And if Reds fans didn’t hate Molina enough already, he slugged a solo home run in the top of the second inning to give the Cardinals an early 2-0 lead. Bad blood and pennant race baseball, folks. We’ve arrived. 

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.