Mariners trade Rob Johnson to Padres for PTBNL or cash

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Designated for assignment by the Mariners last week, Rob Johnson has been traded to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Presumably something like $1.75.

Johnson hit .200 with a .282 on-base percentage and .302 slugging percentage in 534 plate appearances for the Mariners, which adds up to a .584 OPS that ranks third-worst in team history behind Brian Hunter and the legendary Mario Mendoza.

And while most catchers who hit that horribly are great defenders behind the plate, Johnson has more passed balls than anyone in baseball over the past two seasons despite playing about half as much as the average starting catcher.

He figures to serve as Nick Hundley’s backup in San Diego.

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.