Will Dice-K ride to the rescue?

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Whether he was tipping pitches or not, the John Smoltz experiment didn’t work out in Boston. The same could be said for Brad Penny.

But help might be on the way, and not a moment too soon.

Daisuke Matsuzaka dazzled in his rehab appearance in a Gulf Coast League game on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing only one hit.

And amazingly — for a guy who nibbles more than John Kruk — he needed only 37 pitches to get through the three innings. From the Globe:

“Everything was pretty good,” Francona said. “Good breaking ball. He commanded his fastball and stayed down. He had good changeups. Generally, really positive.”

Dice-K will make a Double-A start on Thursday, and could return to the Red Sox as early as Sept. 8.

In other Red Sox pitching news, Paul Byrd is toiling away at Triple-A Pawtucket. Not sure how much help Boston can expect on the Byrd front, however. His minor league line, in Pawtucket and the Gulf Coast League? 0-2, 5.73 ERA, 1.54 WHIP in three starts.

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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.