Cardinals sweep the Reds; Brandon Phillips should go with "no comment"

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That’s how you deal with trash talk and cleat-kicking and all of that stuff.

Colby Rasmus’ grand slam in the fifth broke it open on the way to a 6-1 Cardinals’ victory, resulting in a sweep of the Reds. But this game was defined by Adam Wainwright. He pitched two-hit ball over seven shutout innings, running his record to 17-6 and pushing his ERA down to 1.99. shutting down the Reds’ bats and, presumably shutting the mouth of Brandon Phillips for a little while.  Phillips, for what it’s worth, was 2 for 14 in the series. 

The Cardinals are now one game up on in the standings. But, if the silence of the Great American Ballpark crowd and dejected demeanor of the Reds players as they packed up their stuff in the dugout after game is any guide, they are about a million miles ahead of the Reds in morale.

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.