Mike Lowell is 'frustrated' by lack of playing time

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Now that David Ortiz is hitting again–going 16-for-46 (.348) with six homers in 12 games so far this month–Mike Lowell is back to being primarily a bench player for the Red Sox and told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that he’s not happy about it.

I don’t come in for defense. I’m always pinch-run for. Your level of importance feels diminished when I feel like I can do so much more. I just don’t know if the place where I can do so much more is here. The good news is that I can’t control that, but the bad thing is not being able to control the frustration.



The fact we’re not playing well adds to the frustration. If we had the best record in the big leagues, it makes things a little better because there’s a good vibe about the way we’re playing. There are good things. We’re not playing that well. It’s not just one thing. I think if my hip was bothering me all the time I think I would be frustrated, but there would be justification in me not playing.



The situation that is frustrating to me is that I think everybody wanted to see if I was healthier than last year, and I’ve got to believe that’s pretty apparent, and I don’t think my numbers merit not doing anything. The fact I feel good and I have instances where I have had good games and you can’t follow it up and you can’t get hot for two or three weeks, it can only add to your frustration.

This offseason Lowell was on the verge of being traded to Texas, where he’d have been an everyday player, but thumb surgery nixed that move and now the Rangers don’t have any room for him. Lowell would help plenty of other teams in a much bigger role than he has in Boston, but unless they can get significant value for him or save significant money by unloading him it makes sense for the Red Sox to keep Lowell around as an insurance policy at third base, first base, and designated hitter.

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.