The Royals are scrounging for pitching

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Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports that the Royals haven’t ruled out re-signing Bruce Chen:

With Carl Pavano apparently heading back to the Twins, the thin free-agent market still includes Kevin Millwood, linked earlier with the Royals, and their top winner from last year, lefty Bruce Chen. Millwood’s name doesn’t stir much response from Moore.

What about Chen?

“We’re still open-minded with that. He performed very well with us last year and he showed us what he had, and we’ve got a comfort level there,” Moore said.

Chen’s walk rate and strikeout rates were basically the same in 2010 as they were during his truly awful previous few seasons.  He allowed a couple fewer hits a game, which could be a function of random chance. Still, for the Royals he’s the devil they know versus a lot of devils they don’t know, and given how bad their pitching looks to be at the moment, you figure it can’t hurt to bring him back.

I am rather surprised at Moore’s apparent lack of interest in Kevin Millwood.  Hello! Former Brave! I thought that was the sort of thing he got off on.

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.