Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson is expected to miss the first 6-8 weeks of the season after undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Hellickson had surgery last week to remove “loose bodies” from his elbow and the Rays are hoping he’ll be ready in mid-to-late May.
He struggled last season, following up his Rookie of the Year-winning 2011 campaign and similarly strong 2012 by posting an ugly 5.27 ERA and being demoted from the starting rotation, but Topkin notes that Hellickson and the Rays repeatedly insisted that he was healthy as recently as last month.
Hellickson’s injury could open the door for top prospect Jake Odorizzi to step into the Rays’ rotation full time two years after Tampa Bay acquired him from Kansas City in the James Shields trade.
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.