What does Vlad's signing mean for Mike Lowell?

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MLB.com’s Ian Browne makes a good point:

Vlad to the Rangers as DH would seem to signify no chance of Lowell to Texas ever being rekindled.

Hmm. Hadn’t thought of that.  If the Rangers are out of the running — and why wouldn’t they be —  what on Earth is Boston gonna do with Lowell? Who else wants him? At this point they’re looking at either a release or paying $12 million for a guy to backup two dudes who outclass him both defensively and offensively, and that’s not what one usually looks for in a utility infielder.

The only way he’s valuable to the Sox is if David Ortiz decides that his first-half 2009 numbers are his new level, and that’s only relative value as opposed to absolute value.

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.