Fun facts regarding Harang's homer

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Aaron Harang’s three-run bomb off the Cubs’ Randy Wells in the second inning of Friday’s game…

… was his first in 390 career at-bats.

… gave him his first run scored in 233 at-bats since Apr. 8, 2006.

… bumped both his career OBP and slugging percentage over the century
mark. His career line went from .087/.099/.098 to .090/.101/.108.

… upped his career high for RBI in a season from three to six.

Harang has actually improved considerably as a hitter since arriving
from the AL in 2003. He bottomed out in 2005, going 2-for-74 (.027)
without any extra-base hits or walks and 39 strikeouts. Since then,
he’s hit .108 in 2006, .095 in 2007 and .130 in 2008. He entered today
at .143 for this year. Still, he had allowed 367 runs since scoring his
last run.

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.