Geovany Soto loses 40 pounds

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Geovany Soto headshot.jpgCharlie Manuel may be the biggest loser this offseason, but he has some competition in Geovany Soto:

Soto didn’t wait for the new year to change his eating habits. He has
dropped 40 pounds since the 2009 season ended on Oct. 4. He’ll need a
new uniform. Soto went from a size 42 waist to size 36.

“I felt I needed to do something, I felt I needed to go to the
next level,” said Soto, who had been listed in the Cubs media guide at
a polite 230 pounds. “I felt I needed to show my teammates I’m really
into this, I really want to play, I want to play hard, I’m committed to
this and I want to win.

33 pounds of that was eyebrow hair. True story.

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.