After shaky start, Phil Hughes effective in return against Tribe

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Phil Hughes bounced back from a two-run first to hold the Indians scoreless over the next four innings Wednesday in his first start after nearly three months on the DL with an arm problem.

The Indians started the game with a walk from Michael Brantley, a single from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Travis Hafner.  The second run scored after strike three to Carlos Santana got away from Russell Martin and Cabrera took off for third.  The throw eluded Alex Rodriguez and went into left field, allowing Cabrera to score.

While it was an unearned run initially, it was ruled earned after Orlando Cabrera singled later in the inning.

Hughes improved from there, though he never had a one-two-three inning.  He faced four batters each in the second, third and fourth.  In the fifth, he hit two batters and walked another before getting Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out, ending the frame and his night.

Hughes threw 88 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.  His fastball started off in the 92-93 mph range, but it had little movement and the Indians were able to make consistent contact against it.  Hughes survived because of his secondary pitches, his curve in particular.

All in all, it simply wasn’t the kind of showing that suggests Hughes is going to be a force in the second half.  He needs a little more velocity or fastball movement for that to happen.

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.