Bryan Bullington finally notched his first big-league win with eight shutout innings against the Yankees on August 15, eight years after the Pirates selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 draft, but now it looks like that may prove to be his only major-league victory.
Designated for assignment by the Royals last week, Bullington has signed with the Hiroshima Carp in Japan and the 30-year-old right-hander leaves behind a career record of 1-9 with a 5.62 ERA in 81.2 innings as a major leaguer.
Bullington is one of just three pitchers selected No. 1 overall to win fewer than 15 games in the majors. The other two are Stephen Strasburg, whose career is on hold following elbow surgery, and Brien Taylor, whose career was ruined by a shoulder injury in the minors.
Bullington was picked one spot ahead of B.J. Upton in 2002, but the third (Chris Gruler), fourth (Adam Loewen), and fifth (Clint Everts) picks that year have also made essentially zero impact in the majors.
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.
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.