Adrian Gonzalez hopes to make spring debut next week

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Adrian Gonzalez took live batting practice earlier today for the second time in the past three days and told Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com that he hopes to make his spring debut sometime next week.

“[Wednesday] I’ll hit again on the field if everything feels good,” he said. “And see how it responds hitting back-to-back days. Right now, the plan is to take it easy on Thursday. I don’t think I’m going to be off, but I’m going to back off and give it a rest so I can start planning out for some kind of game action next week sometime — maybe even earlier, I don’t know. Maybe next week some time.”

And he’s chomping at the bit to get started.

Instead of testing his surgically-repaired shoulder by taking some swings in a “B” game, Gonzalez told Mullen that he plans to move directly from live batting practice to exhibition action. Look out, Grapefruit League hurlers.

The 28-year-old first baseman batted .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers and 101 RBI last season and should thrive calling the hitter-friendly Fenway Park home.

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.