Jason Heyward will take batting practice this weekend

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Braves general manager Frank Wren told Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Wednesday that outfielder Jason Heyward is making progress in his rehab from a deep thumb bruise and will begin taking batting practice this weekend.

“It’s going well,” Wren said, “he feels good and that’s a good sign.”

The rookie phenom was placed on the 15-day disabled list in late June after opening the season with a .251/.366/.455 batting line, 11 home runs and 46 RBI over his first 255 at-bats. 

Heyward was selected to the National League All-Star roster last week and O’Brien says he may still play, but it’s hard to imagine the Braves allowing that. 

The Midsummer Classic is on Tuesday — less than a week from now — and the 20-year-old right fielder should probably be given some at-bats on a minor league rehab assignment before he is activated and thrown into major league action, exhibition or not.

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.