Dodgers activate Hong-Chih Kuo from disabled list

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Dodgers setup man Hong-Chih Kuo strained a muscle in his back during spring training and landed on the disabled list in mid-April after trying to pitch through the pain for two weeks.

He’s now finally healthy and ready to return to form at the back end of the Dodgers’ bullpen.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Kuo was activated from the disabled list on Sunday afternoon and is available for today’s series finale against the Padres. Kenley Jansen was optioned back to Triple-A Albuquerque to clear a spot on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster.

Kuo left behind a 3.38 ERA and 1.88 WHIP. He may get a chance to save games in the coming weeks if Jonathan Broxton’s ninth inning struggles continue. Otherwise Kuo will be in his old familiar setup role.

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.