Peter Moylan: dippin’ down under

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Braves reliever Peter Moylan is from Australia. And we learn from his recently launched blog — which, if the history of these sorts of things holds, will go inactive in two weeks — that it’s not easy transitioning to the offseason when you’re from the land down under.  After he took a 24 hour flight back home, this happened:

I was however, met by a customs officer who took a liking to my chewing tobacco. You see skoal is not something that is readily available in the land down under so as you can imagine a three month supply was sure to catch the attention of the x-ray machine, so what followed was a 30 min negotiation that involved me trying to prove that I am a Major League Baseball player and not a smoke shop owner trying to bring in new products.

I don’t care if ballplayers dip — it’s outrageously dumb, but it’s a free country, even in another country — but I bet Major League Baseball would prefer it if their players didn’t blog about the copious amount of tobacco their players use.

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.