A’s pursuing Hideki Matsui after pulling offer to Adrian Beltre

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms various reports that the A’s have pulled their offer to Adrian Beltre and says it was “worth at least $64 million over five years.”

For the second offseason in a row the A’s made a strong push for Beltre, only to realize that he viewed them as merely a fallback option and much preferred to sign elsewhere.

In this case that meant re-signing with the Red Sox, although that no longer looks like an option for Beltre following Boston’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

As for who the A’s will turn to next, Slusser speculates that Hideki Matsui could be atop their list of targets. Going from Beltre to Matsui is quite a dropoff, but the A’s are looking for a veteran designated hitter after non-tendering Jack Cust last week and as usual they’re having a tough time luring top free agents to Oakland. Slusser says the A’s have also “put in a call on” Vladimir Guerrero.

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.