Go check out Rugby Sevens Talk

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Rugby Sevens.jpgWe have lots of “Talks” around here now. ProFootball, Hardball, ProBasketball, ProHockey and CollegeFootball.  That’s not enough, though, so we’ve added one more: Rugby Sevens Talk.

Rugby Sevens is a variant on rugby that involves (duh) seven guys instead of the usual 15. And there are far fewer Hakas.  Well, maybe not. I have no idea really, which is why I bookmarked my buddy Buzz McClain’s new blog about it, which only a few posts in is already proving educational, so no worries if you’re not all that well-versed.

Why should you check it out? One obvious reason — which I won’t lie about — is corporate synergy.  NBC is going to broadcast the debut USA Sevens Collegiate
Championship Invitational
next month and the blog is a good way to educate people about the sport and to hype it up a bit.

But I’d be into it even if there weren’t business reasons for it because (a) the sport seems weird and cool and I like weird and cool; and (b) the championship is going to take place right here in Columbus, Ohio, so I’ll probably go down and see it in person.

So give Buzz and Rugby Sevens Talk a look-in.  If you don’t like it, hey, fine, rugby sevens has been around for 127 years so it will probably manage to go on without you.  But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something new and fun and cool and weird and, really, who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?

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.