MLB to changeup umpire assignments for the World Series

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Baseball has seen enough bad calls and is changing the way it assigns umpires for the World Series:

Stung by a rash of blown calls in the playoffs, Major League
Baseball is breaking tradition and sticking with only experienced
umpires for the World Series.

Longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth and Gerry Davis, along
with Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson and Mike Everitt will handle the games,
three people with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press
this week . . . In 24 of the last 25 World Series, the six-man crew has included at
least one umpire working the event for the first time–baseball likes to
reward newer umpires, plus replenish the supply of umps with Series
experience.

Not that this is a guarantee of anything better than what we’ve seen. An experienced umpire does not necessarily make for a good umpire.  Joe West has been around forever, and for as long as he’s been around, people have complained about him. And he doesn’t take well to complaints: back in 1984 West actually ejected two SportsChannel cameramen when they allowed Mets players and coaches to see replays of a call he blew. And let us not forget that our friend Tim McClelland has been around for over 25 years, and he still made those awful calls at third base on Tuesday night.

But at least it’s something.  Not as good as, say, the limited introduction of replay or — an idea I heard someone suggest yesterday which may be better — simply stationing an umpire in the press box, giving him access to video and a headset and allowing him to serve as a overruling authority in the event something clearly gets blown on the field.

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.