Did Girardi purposely snub Youkilis from the All-Star Game?

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When Twins first baseman Justin Morneau bowed out of next week’s All-Star game due to a mild concussion, many Red Sox fans were hoping that Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis would be named as his replacement. 

After all, Youk finished a close second on MLB’s “Final Vote” ballot to Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and is plenty deserving of an All-Star nod given the fact that his 987 OPS ranks fifth-best among all major leaguers and his 18 homers and 57 RBI also stand near the top of the league.

Red Sox Nation is up in arms tonight, as White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was selected to take Morneau’s spot instead.  This according to an MLB.com press release.

Konerko is having a heck of a season, with a .299/.382/.560 batting line, 20 home runs and 63 RBI through 291 at-bats.  He has been a big part of the White Sox’s resurgence in the American League Central and there’s little doubt that he is also deserving of an All-Star nod. 

But the fact is Youkilis has been better, and his versatility on the infield might have proven helpful in the later innings of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.  Did Yanks skipper Joe Girardi, who is managing the American League squad on Tuesday, snub the Red Sox first baseman on purpose?  Or is he simply a fan of more traditional statistics, like the home run and RBI?  We’re thinking the latter, but, either way, selecting Konerko over Youk was probably a misguided move for the sake of that whole “This One Counts” nonsense.

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.