Tim Kurkjian reports that Ben Sheets is tan, rested and ready:
“That was my first summer off. No baseball player can even remember the
last summer he had off. I did July 4th and Labor Day with the family.
The time off refreshed me. It made me realize how much I love baseball.
I missed the camaraderie with the guys. I feel fantastic . . . It was frustrating not being able to play, but it made me want to play even more in the 2010 season.”
His first step towards that goal comes Tuesday when Sheets is going to audition for anyone who might be interested at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Sheets claims to be healthy and says that “they’re going to like what they see.”
Lots of teams are likely interested, including the Mets, Phillies and if they have any brains, the Dodgers. Kurjian says, however, that Seattle may be a dark horse, given Sheets’ relationship with GM Jack Zduriencik, who used to be in Milwaukee.
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.
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.