Link-O-Rama: A.J. Burnett likes to read, swear

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* From the “hey, it’s Friday and this amused me for some reason” department, the Boston Herald reports
that A.J. Burnett was thrown out of a Boston-area Barnes & Noble
the morning after his poor start against the Red Sox “for swearing on
his cell phone.”

A source told the newspaper that “he was swearing and stuff and the
security guard went over and told him to quiet down because there were
kids around.” And then when Burnett declined that request, the
“elderly” security guard on duty “told him to hit the road.”

* Bobby Valentine was told by the Chiba Lotte Marines that his contract will not be renewed, so 100,000 fans signed a petition to keep him as manager.

* Not since Rich Garces has someone looked this good throwing a baseball.

* Try as they might, Washington Post writers can’t escape Lastings Milledge and the Nationals.

* Jonathan Papelbon has been fined $1,000 for “violating pace-of-game guidelines” when entering games.

* Rob Dibble apparently isn’t a big fan of Rob Neyer or Keith Law. I’m sure they’re equally crushed.

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.