Paul Maholm throws simulated game, nearing rehab assignment

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The first-place Braves haven’t missed Paul Maholm much since he landed on the disabled list last month with a bruised left wrist, but he’s on track to rejoin the starting rotation soon.

Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Maholm made it through a simulated game this afternoon with no issues. The next step will be a minor league rehab assignment, which could set him up to be activated as soon as next Thursday against the Cardinals.

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he is still thinking over how he will handle Maholm’s return, with a six-man rotation among the possibilities. This could be a way to give Julio Teheran some extra rest down the stretch.

Maholm, 31, has a 4.41 ERA and 82/36 K/BB ratio in 118 1/3 innings through 20 starts this season. He has a 5.33 ERA in 17 starts since beginning the year with three consecutive scoreless outings.

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.