Top prospect Parker to miss season after surgery

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So much for the promising start to Arizona’s offseason. They’ve learned that they’re saving about $5 million because Mark Reynolds just missed qualifying for arbitration and it looks like they’ll hold on to assistants Jerry DiPoto and Peter Woodfork with the Padres set to name Boston’s Jed Hoyer as their new GM. However, they received a big blow Thursday with the news that top prospect Jarrod Parker would undergo Tommy John surgery.
The procedure doesn’t come as a complete surprise, as there had been rumors that it would be necessary ever since the right-hander was shut down in early August. The Diamondbacks said two weeks ago that he had been making progress in his throwing program, but obviously, he had experienced a setback since.
Parker, 20, was the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft. Before being shut down this year, he went 5-6 with a 3.14 ERA and a 95/38 K/BB ratio in 97 1/3 innings, most of them coming in Double-A. With a big fastball and a high-80s slider, the Diamondbacks view him as a potential ace. Ideally, this will be a mere one-year setback for him. Still, if he had stayed healthy, he was a definite threat to come up next June and perhaps contend for Rookie of the Year honors.

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.