Twins open Target Field with college game

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The Twins opened brand new Target Field Saturday with a college game between the University of Minnesota and Louisiana Tech.

More than 37,757 showed up to take in the new ballpark, which features a massive fire pit in left field and several in-stadium bars and restaurants.  Stuart Groskreutz wrote a review of the place for the Stillwater Gazette last week and there’s a picture of today’s action available on SBNation’s Twinkie Town.

The Twins are hoping the new park, which looks like it could be a real gem, will provide enough revenue to justify the massive eight-year, $184 million contract extension that was handed to catcher Joe Mauer last weekend.  So far, so good. 

“The number one word we heard from people today was, ‘incredible,”‘
Twins spokesperson Kevin Smith told the Associated Press Saturday.

Oh, and for those interested in such things, Louisiana Tech won Saturday’s game 9-1.

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.