Mariners call up shortstop prospect Nick Franklin, demote Dustin Ackley to minors

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Seattle shortstops are just barely out-hitting National League pitchers this season and the Mariners have finally decided to do something about it. Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that they’re calling up Triple-A shortstop Nick Franklin.

Franklin ranked as a top 100 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com coming into the season and has been fantastic at Triple-A, hitting .324 with a .440 on-base percentage and more walks (30) than strikeouts (20) in 39 games.

He’s actually played more second base than shortstop in Tacoma, which suggests the dropoff defensively compared to slick-fielding Brendan Ryan would be pretty huge, but Ryan has hit just .198 in 181 games since the beginning of last season. It’s also possible that Franklin will play second base because …

To make room for Franklin on the roster Divish says the Mariners are demoting former No. 2 overall pick and one-time stud prospect Dustin Ackley to Triple-A. Ackley had a promising rookie season in 2011, but has hit just .221 with a .599 OPS in 198 games since then while serving as Seattle’s regular second baseman.

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.

Rockies place Carlos Gonzalez and Tyler Anderson on the disabled list

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The Rockies announced on Monday that outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and pitcher Tyler Anderson were placed on the 10-day disabled list. The club activated reliever Chad Qualls from the disabled list and recalled reliever Jairo Diaz from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Gonzalez, 31, is dealing with a strained right shoulder. He’s in the midst of his worst season, batting .221/.300/.348 with six home runs and 20 RBI in 277 plate appearances. Gonzalez is a free agent after the season and has been commonly brought up in trade discussions, but his latest injury and underwhelming season will make it difficult for the Rockies to get anything meaningful in return this summer.

Anderson, 27, has inflammation in his left knee. He dealt with a knee problem earlier this season, so the injury seems to have been reaggravated. The lefty has an ugly 6.11 ERA with a 63/23 K/BB ratio in 63 1/3 innings this season.

Qualls, 38, went on the disabled list earlier this month with back spasms. He had previously been dealing with forearm inflammation, so it’s been a rough year for the veteran. He is carrying a 4.60 ERA with a 9/5 K/BB ratio in 15 2/3 innings.

Diaz, 26, hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2015. He has appeared in only eight games at Triple-A as he opened the season on the disabled list after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. So far, Diaz has allowed three earned runs on seven hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.