Cancel the return party: Erik Bedard suffered another setback

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Just when it looked like Erik Bedard was ready to rejoin the Mariners’ rotation the oft-injured left-hander has suffered yet another setback.
Initially expected to come off the disabled list last week, those plans were canceled and Bedard was then scheduled for a bullpen session over the weekend. Once those were ruled out too he was then slated to simply play catch yesterday, but even that proved too much for Bedard’s surgically repaired shoulder.
He felt discomfort while throwing off flat ground and Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Bedard will be examined next week by the Mariners’ team doctor, with an MRI exam and/or CATscan likely on the docket. In other words, Bedard might be back to square one. He hasn’t faced big-league hitters since July 25, 2009.

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.