Brad Lincoln shuts down the Cubs for his first major league victory

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Pirates’ rookie Brad Lincoln threw seven shutout innings against the Cubs today, striking out six and allowing only four hits as Pittsburgh beat Chicago 2-0.

It looked like it would be a no-decision for Lincoln for a while, however, as Tom Gorzelanny and Brian Schlitter matched the zeros.  But then some bad defense struck for Chicago, with Aramis Ramirez booting one with one out, allowing Andy LaRoche to reach. Andrew McCutchen followed with a single, Garrett Jones doubled and, after Pedro Alvarez struck out with the bases loaded, Lastings Milledge drew an RBI walk.

Obviously the high point in Lincoln’s young career, with his curveball working and the sun shining down on Wrigley Field. Not a bad setting in which to pick up your first W.

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.