UPDATE: Blalock picking between Marlins, Rays

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UPDATE: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times confirms that the Rays have interest in Blalock on a minor league deal.
4:44pm: Two weeks ago Matthew named Tampa Bay and Florida as the best remaining fits for Hank Blalock, and sure enough now SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the 29-year-old free agent is indeed deciding between the Rays and Marlins.
In their quest for another left-handed hitter the Rays previously missed out on Russell Branyan and would likely use Blalock to split time at designated hitter with Pat Burrell while also providing some depth behind Carlos Pena at first base and Evan Longoria at third base. For the Marlins he’d be a potential alternative to prospects Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez at first base.
At this point Blalock is probably choosing between low-money deals or perhaps even minor-league offers, so he might as well take the best opportunity for significant playing time and that’s likely Tampa Bay unless Florida is willing to hold Morrison back at Triple-A for most of the season.

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.