Brandon Morrow to begin season on disabled list with right forearm inflammation

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I’m not sure if this qualifies as a jinx, since I haven’t actually posted the article yet, but Brandon Morrow is one of my “breakout” picks for this season (along with, among others, Carlos Santana) and … well, the Blue Jays just announced that he’ll begin the year on the disabled list with right forearm inflammation.

It’s a tough break for a pitching staff that will likely also be without Frank Francisco and Octavio Dotel early on, and it’s doubly unfortunate because Morrow was dominant in the second half last season and looked ready to take the next step into ace territory.

Hopefully it proves to be a minor roadblock–John Lott of the National Post reports that Morrow may miss only one start–but in the meantime Toronto’s pitching depth will be tested and top prospect Kyle Drabek’s odds of cracking the Opening Day rotation continue to rise.

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.