Bryce Harper has once again started his season on the right foot. The 2015 National League Most Valuable Player put the Nationals on the board on Opening Day Monday afternoon with a solo home run off of Marlins reliever David Phelps, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
Monday marked Harper’s fifth Opening Day in the majors, and the home run marked the fourth time he went yard on Opening Day. According to Baseball Reference, Gary Carter is the only other player to homer on four Opening Days before turning 25 years old. Harper has five total Opening Day homers, as he took Ricky Nolasco deep twice back in 2013.
Harper, 24, performed well last season but it was a far cry from his 2015 performance. He finished last year’s campaign hitting .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 627 plate appearances.
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.