Tsuyoshi Nishioka hasn’t played since going 0-for-12 with a half-dozen fielding mistakes in last week’s three-game series against the Indians and not surprisingly the Twins have optioned him back to Triple-A.
The move was made to clear a roster spot for Trevor Plouffe’s return from the disabled list, as the slugging third baseman has missed the past three weeks with thumb problems.
Nishioka was as bad as a major leaguer could possibly look and it’s unclear why the Twins bothered to call him up in the first place considering he was awful at Triple-A this season and terrible in the majors last season. Whatever the case, we’ve probably seen the last of him in a Twins uniform and perhaps the last of him in the majors, although by optioning Nishioka to the minors instead of designating him for assignment the Twins have left him on the 40-man roster.
Nishioka has hit .215 with zero homers and a .503 OPS in 71 games for the Twins while making 15 errors defensively. He’s owed $3 million next season as part of a $15 million investment by Minnesota.
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.
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.