Link-O-Rama: Oswalt hoping to make Tuesday start despite back spasms

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* Roy Oswalt complained of back spasms after getting rocked for six runs on 10 hits in two innings last week, but remains on track to make his scheduled Tuesday start.
“He’s going to go on Tuesday,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “We’ll have a backup plan, but that’s the day he’s going to go.” Oswalt posted the worst ERA of his career last season at 3.54 and through 176.1 innings this year’s mark is 4.03.
* Padres prospect Cory Luebke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning yesterday as the United States defeated Canada in the second round of the World Cup.
* Chico Harlan of the Washington Post recently caught up with Dmitri Young, who has basically made $5 million to do absolutely nothing this season and has enjoyed every minute of it.
* James Shields, after the Rays dropped their 11th straight game: “It’s embarrassing. It is. It’s embarrassing. Eleven straight losses are embarrassing. It’s not fun right now. We’ve got to play better baseball from here on out. I don’t care if we’re in the race or not. We’ve got to at least end our season on a high note.”

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.