Brandon Webb pitches six innings in extended spring game

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Brandon Webb took away some encouraging signs after throwing six innings against Padres minor leaguers in Arizona on Tuesday.  He hit 84 mph on the gun while allowing four runs — one earned — and six hits in six innings, Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports.

He struck out five and walked none, though he did hit two batters.

“Today I felt like I was able to locate more,” he said. “The other times I was just throwing it down the middle, trying to get velocity and not really worrying about where it went and stuff like that. Today it was more about pitch-ability.”

Webb said he hit 86 mph on the gun a couple of outings ago.  He wasn’t there today, but he has picked up some velocity while getting his arm back into shape.

“It’s probably some of the best stuff I’ve had, I think,” he said. “My curve ball has been kind of loopy. For the most part it was pretty good today. It was just a matter of getting the hand speed out in front instead of kind of babying it in there or whatever.”

Webb is probably going to have to start throwing in the mid-80s consistently if he’s going to help the Rangers this year.  The team hasn’t announced what’s in store for him next, but it sounds like he’s about ready to begin an official 30-day rehab assignment in the minors.

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.