They teach them young in Philly

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Francoeur Barajas.jpgHighlight of the night as far as I’m concerned: A Philadelphia father helps his baby daughter throw the ball back onto the field after a Rod Barajas home run in the Mets-Phillies game.  As someone who is raising a taunting young girl himself, he’s a man after my own heart.

People like to rip Phillies fans for their attitude, but you gotta give them credit for their passion.

And speaking of passion and/or attitude, you all may think I try to needle opposing fans, but check out what the New York Daily News’ Kevin Deutsch did yesterday:

Risking life and limb, I marched into Citizens Bank Park wearing Mets regalia Friday and loudly chanted the three words that drive every Phillies fan insane: “LET’S GO METS.”

I repeated the time-honored refrain all over the ballpark and at some of the city’s best-known landmarks, drawing boos, threats, curses and taunts wherever I turned.

But with the Amazins’ building upon their NL East lead with an 9-1 blowout victory, Mets fans have bragging rights here for the first time in years. Our old rivalry once again has some juice to it. I wasn’t about to pass up the chance to do a little gloating.

I’m sure some people will have a problem with a reporter gettin’ into it like that, but I think it’s great fun.  Call out the media if they get the facts wrong or distort things in dishonest way. But stirring things up can be great fun sometimes. It’s sports. It ain’t national defense policy. Why not get some kicks out of it?

And oh yeah: the Mets Rod Barajas homered twice, Jonathon Niese shut down the Phillies’ lineup and New York beat Philadelphia 9-1 for the Mets’ eighth straight victory.

The NL East is gonna be a hoot this year.

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.