Capps' role hardly the problem

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I liked this line from Tim Brown’s Yahoo column over the weekend:

Matt Capps’ ERA is pretty ugly these days, but more than one scout
believes he could be miscast in the closer role and could be very
useful as a setup man.

The ugly ERA is right, as Capps is currently sitting at 6.00 in 33
innings. But the role being the problem? Capps is 20-for-22 saving
games. He has a 3.86 ERA in save situations and a 9.75 ERA in non-save
situations.

Capps’ problem is that his command has gone from exceptional to
mediocre. He’s always lacked a true strikeout pitch, and that he’s been
a well above average reliever over the course of his career is due
mostly to his ability to spot his low-90s fastball. It’s hard to see
how a role change will help his ability to paint the outside corner.

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.