"Target Field could very well be the AL version of Petco"

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Thumbnail image for target-field-100407.jpgThat’s the verdict of a Yale physicist who deftly notes that it’s colder outside at night in Minneapolis than it is inside the dome and a sabermetrician who has studied the effects of cold air on the trajectory of baseballs and has noted a few interesting things about the prevailing winds in Minnesota.

But like I said the other day, this stuff is just way too premature. No one knows what’s going to happen in a ballpark until a team plays in it. Yankee Stadium v.3 was supposed to play just like v.2 did and it didn’t in its first year. AT&T park was supposed to substantially favor hitters.  Yes, I know there is some science behind the predictions here, but my dad was a meteorologist for 40 years and he’ll be the first one to tell you that predictions that are based, at least in part, on prevailing winds are rendered mostly meaningless once you, you know, put a bunch of buildings in front of those winds.  He’ll also tell you that those guys on your local TV news “Storm Team” who freak out every time a snowflake falls need should be taken out and shot for desensitizing the public to legitimate severe weather warnings, but that’s another post.

I will close by noting that both Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have more home runs and higher career slugging percentages away from the old dome than in it, and those include a lot of games in a big cold park in Detroit. Upshot: don’t worry your pretty little heads about it, Twins fans.

UPDATE: For a bonus look at outdoor baseball in Minnesota — a look way, way back in time, actually — check out The Daily Something today.  Great stuff.

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.