Mets aiming for Carlos Beltran to return on July 15

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After presenting all sorts of irrational timetables on his return, Jerry Manuel finally conceded Saturday that Carlos Beltran will likely be activated from the disabled list immediately after the All-Star break on July 15 in San Francisco, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.

“He wants to play. He wants to be with the team,” Manuel said. “But I
think from an organizational point of view, from being careful with
this, you kind of have to err on the side of caution and be somewhat
conservative. I know he’s anxious to play. I know he’s probably getting
ready to get out of there.”

Beltran was originally scheduled to play full back-to-back games in center field
with Single-A St. Lucie on Friday and Saturday — something the club
will require him to do before he can be activated from the DL — however he was
scratched from last night’s game due to a wet field, according to
assistant general manager John Ricco.

Beltran, who is currently working his way back from right knee surgery in January, is batting .423 (11-for-26) with three doubles and four RBI over the first seven games of his minor league rehab assignment.

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.