Former first-round pick Russ Adams retires

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J.P. Ricciardi’s first draft pick in his stint as the Toronto Blue Jays GM retired Thursday, as Triple-A Buffalo’s Russ Adams called it a career.

Adams was the 14th overall pick in the 2002 draft.  After three steady seasons in the minors, he debuted with the Blue Jays in 2004, hitting .306/.359/.528 with four homers in 78 at-bats.  That earned him a starting job in 2005.  He went on to hit a respectable .256/.325/.383 with eight homers and 63 RBI.  However, the Blue Jays soured on him defensively as the year went on.

As it turned out, those 139 major league games he played in as a rookie were more than he’d play in the rest of his career combined.  The Blue Jays completely gave up on him as a shortstop after a 2006 season in which he hit .219/.282/.319 in 90 games, and since he didn’t really impress at second or third either, he was unable to carve out a career as a utilityman.  He was last seen in the majors in eight games with the Jays in 2009.

This year was his second with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.  He hit a solid .264/.444/.473 with 16 homers last year, but he was off to a poor .180/.296/.246 start in 72 at-bats this season.

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.