Greenberg: we're going to miss opening day

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Not a big surprise, but prospective Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg said yesterday that his team will be unable to finalize the deal for the team before Opening Day, as had been previously hoped.  The new target is mid-April. Worth noting that this is not the first time the Greenberg group has missed a deadline. They went eight days past their original exclusive negotiating window back in January.

Greenberg said he isn’t concerned about the reports of angry creditors,
the deal being “a mess” or any of that stuff, and that this delay is just one of those things that happen.  Can’t help but wonder, however, if the fact that Tom Hicks is getting squeezed really hard right now, as opposed to the usual types of impediments to deal making, isn’t the big problem. It’s his debt that’s causing the holdup with the creditors, and he seems less able to pay it off today than he was even a couple of weeks before.

Note to Tom Hicks: if Greenberg invites you out on a hunting trip, or hiking in canyon country or for a ride out on his yacht or something between now and mid-April, you probably want to take a pass on it.

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.