Announcing ProHockeyTalk

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Youngblood.jpgThe world is a funny place. After years of thinking you know someone, you wake up one day to find out that they actually like hockey. That’s what happened over the weekend, as all sorts of people I once considered to be respectable were asking me whether I was watching the USA-Canada game, telling me that their heart skipped a beat when the U.S. tied it up to send it into overtime and all that jazz. It’s much like the way everyone I knew suddenly liked curling a couple of weeks ago, only this time it was without any apparent irony.

Well, it’s time for these folks to put their mouse clicks where their mouth is, as we’ve launched ProHockeyTalk (RSS! Twitter!).  Emceed by Brandon Worley, PHT will provide you with all the NHL news, rumors, insight, analysis, “Slap Shot” references and poutine you could possibly want, all in one convenient location.  You should totally check it out. I’m a huge Cleveland Barons fan, so I’ll definitely be reading.  Johnny Damon and Scott Boras will be clicking there every day too. They LOVE octopus.

In other news, ProCurlingTalk’s launch — originally scheduled for next week — is going to be delayed. Some squatter owns that URL and he’s being a real jerk in negotiations. I’ll give you the heads up.

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.