Posada ahead of schedule, takes batting practice

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Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was placed on the disabled list just 11 days ago with a hairline fracture in his right foot.  According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, he is already chomping at the bit to return.

Posada took batting practice on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium and is no longer wearing a protective boot on his foot.  He’s hoping to begin a running program within the next week, and a minor league rehab assignment should soon follow.

“I need more hitting, and we’ll see,” Posada said Sunday. “I think if I hit
today and tomorrow, we’ll see. Running is the thing. I’ve got to run
the bases and all of that stuff. If it feels fine after that, we’ll
see.”

The veteran backstop left behind a .326 batting average, a .406 on-base percentage, six home runs and 14 RBI, accomplished in 89 at-bats.  When he was originally diagnosed with the foot fracture the Yankees estimated that he would miss about a month.  It sure looks like he’ll be ready sooner than that.

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.