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Edinson Volquez pitches the first no-hitter of 2017

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It’s been 408 days since a major league pitcher successfully completed a no-hit bid. On Saturday, Marlins’ hurler Edinson Volquez brought that streak to an end with his first career no-hitter against the Diamondbacks.

The 33-year-old right-hander maintained a perfect game through four innings before issuing a walk to Jake Lamb to lead off the fifth inning. A few close plays nearly spoiled the no-no, including a controversial play in the fourth inning, when Paul Goldschmidt was called safe after evading a tag from Justin Bour at first base. Upon review, the call was overturned in the Marlins’ favor, gifting Volquez with his 12th out of the game.

More alarming was Volquez’s violent collision with Rey Fuentes in the first inning, which left both players shaken up and almost forced Volquez to make an early exit from the game.

Volquez allowed a second baserunner in the eighth inning, walking Chris Herrmann on five pitches moments before Brandon Drury hit into an inning-ending double play. In all other respects, Marlins’ No. 3 starter looked untouchable on the mound, striking out 10 of 27 batters and expending just 98 pitches to earn another rare distinction: the ‘Maddux’, a title reserved for those who toss a complete game shutout with 99 or fewer pitches.

With the gem, Volquez became the first Marlins pitcher to record a no-hitter since Henderson Alvarez‘s no-no against the Tigers in September 2013. According to MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro and Glenn Sattell, that was also the last time a pitcher of any MLB affiliation tossed a ‘Maddux’ no-hitter, as Alvarez needed just 99 pitches to complete the shutout.

Even more meaningful was Volquez’s motivation heading into the game. Hours before his start on Saturday evening, he posted a tribute to former teammate Yordano Ventura on Instagram. Ventura was killed in a car crash in late January and would have turned 26 years old on Saturday.

Miss you broth HBD to Ace Ventura one love

A post shared by Edinson Volquez (@edinsonavolquez36) on

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.