Behold the Red Sox' pitching depth

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Penny, Smoltz, Paul Byrd. Tell me, wasn’t the Red Sox’ strength supposed to be their deep, deep starting pitching talent?

In case Brad Penny’s start last night did not convince you the Red Sox are a little light on starting pitching now, a late-breaking development should have nailed that case shut for you. In the waning moments of the Red Sox’ 6-4 loss to the Rays, team officials notified the media that Paul Byrd had been signed to a minor league deal.

Good luck with that. And good luck against the Yankees with John Smoltz on the hill. Maybe Theo will sign Jose Lima in the closing innings of that one. Unlike Byrd, at least some other teams have recently found him to be desirable.

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.