Link-O-Rama: A-Rod and K-Hud

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* People has all kinds of tidbits
on Alex Rodriguez’s relationship with Kate Hudson, which the magazine
calls “somewhat serious.” Also of note is that “Hudson followed
Rodriguez on the road late last month to Dallas” and the couple “worked
out together in the fitness center” of the team hotel.

If by some miracle Hudson ever makes a decent movie again–seriously, check out her resume since Almost Famous–the
Hollywood media will no doubt start buzzing with talk of
performance-enhancing drugs. Does human growth hormone help you act?

* Joe Mauer was the best player in baseball last month, hitting .414 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs in 28 games, and started June by going 3-for-3 with a homer last night. He’s now one homer shy of tying his career-high.

* Rick Porcello’s five-start winning streak was snapped last night, so Rickmania! will have to wait.

* J.C. Romero has rejoined the Phillies’ bullpen after serving his 50-game suspension.

* Barry Bonds may have stumbled upon a new career.

Brandon McCarthy wins final spot in Dodgers’ rotation

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We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.

McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.

Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.