Roy Halladay could start Minor League rehab next week

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Per the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, the Phillies were impressed by starter Roy Halladay’s performance in a simulated game this morning. Gelb says that the signs indicate Halladay will make a Minor League start on Thursday, the next step in his road back from surgery on his right shoulder.

More from Gelb:

Halladay will throw a bullpen session Monday in Clearwater. If he emerges from that without a hitch, his official rehab assignment should start. Amaro said Halladay’s fastball sat in the “mid-to-upper 80s pretty consistently.” He added the team was more concerned about Halladay’s mechanics — specifically his arm slot — and the reports were favorable.

Halladay had an abysmal start to the season, posting an 8.65 ERA over his first seven starts before it was revealed he had a number of issues involving his shoulder, including bone spurs, a frayed labrum, and a partial tear of the rotator cuff.

Now 36 years old, Halladay is eligible to become a free agent after the season. A return near the beginning of September would give him four or five starts to audition for potential suitors. He is playing out the last year of a three-year, $60 million contract signed with the Phillies in December 2009.

DOJ settles antirust lawsuit against cable companies who don’t carry Dodgers games

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Last November, the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T, accusing its subsidiary, DirecTV, of being the ringleader in a plot in which it conspired with Cox Communications, Charter Communications and AT&T cable (then a separate company), to refuse to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodger-owned TV channel in violation of antitrust laws.

Now that lawsuit is over. DOJ has settled with AT&T last night.

The bad news: no part of the settlement obligates DirecTV or any of the other alleged co-conspirators to carry Dodgers games or to even negotiate to that end. There is likewise no fine or truly substantive penalty. It’s basically a “do not do this again!” agreement with some antitrust training requirements for executives and some orders to monitor their communications about these things.

“We are pleased to have resolved this matter to the satisfaction of all parties,” and AT&T spokesman said yesterday, likely in the tone of a guy who is pretty happy to have had a major antitrust suit against him settled so quickly.

When the suit was filed, I anticipated a settlement, as most antitrust suits brought by the DOJ are settled. Such a settlement could’ve featured a cash penalty or, more significantly, a brokered agreement between the parties in question in lieu of a cash settlement that could’ve led to Dodgers games being carried on more channels. After all, more competition is the end game of the Antirust Division.

As it is, however, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a surrender by the DOJ and a victory for the those carriers who coordinated their efforts to not carry the Dodgers.

An open question, unanswered in anyone’s statements yesterday, is whether this settlement is 100% about the merits of the case — keeping in mind that the DOJ tends not file antitrust suits unless they think they can win, instead preferring to negotiate first — or whether it represents a new set of laxer priorities when it comes to antitrust enforcement from the Trump Administration and AG Jeff Sessions.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.