Robinson Cano pulls out of the Home Run Derby with a "back injury"

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Yesterday afternoonRobbie Cano agreed to participate in the Home Run Derby at next week’s All-Star Game.

Yesterday evening: several thousand Yankees fans and no small number of Yankees writers freak out, wondering why a guy who sprays the ball all over the yard would want to participate in a home run hitting contest and wondering if said participation would give him delusions of grandeur, screw up his swing, make him a Communist and things like that.

Twenty minutes ago: Mark Feinsand of the Daily News tweets that Cano has pulled out of the Derby due to a “minor back injury.”

Anyone willing to bet their mortgage that this back injury wasn’t inflicted by Yankees’ front office types who really, really didn’t want to see Cano in the Home Run Derby?  We’ll know when Cano (a) plays effectively in games both before and after the All-Star break; and (b) is vague to the point of ridiculousness when asked about that back injury.

In fact: I’ll buy a six pack for the first beat writer who gets Cano to respond “back injury, what back inj– oh, yeah, it’s coming along fine” to a question.

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.