Strasburg won't pitch in the majors this year

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Bob Nightengale tweets:

Strasburg, who got a $15.1 million guaranteed contract won’t make his MLB debut before 2010, Boras says. Press conference likely on Thursday

Analytical take: this is probably smart, as he pitched a lot of college innings and could use the rest, his presence won’t mean the difference between the Nats having a winning or losing season, and there’s no need for the P.R. bump of having him appear in a game because the Nats got a huge P.R. bump simply by signing him.  Heck, if he pitched once in September and got shelled, it could even be anti-P.R. Better to put his picture on the envelope of next year’s season ticket renewal letters as an unsullied and potentially-perfect product.

Cynical take: Now that the Nats know they can work with Scott Boras and live to tell the tale, there’s no WAY they want to win any more games than they have to and thus lose out on the Bryce Harper derby to Kansas City or San Diego or someone.

UPDATE: A second Nightengale tweet has Boras saying that Strasburg may not even pitch in the big leagues next year. Whatever. As of 11:58 last night, Boras doesn’t control too terribly much about Strasburg’s future, so while I agree with Boras that it may be in everyone’s best interests for Strasburg to be brought along slowly, I don’t give the Nats’ management enough credit to see beyond the increase in ticket sales that would result from him being in the Washington rotation in 2010.  Maybe in June or July 2010, but if he’s not pitching in major league games next year, I’ll eat my hat.

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.