MLB suspends Roger McDowell two weeks for slurs, threats

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Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Major League Baseball has suspended Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell for two weeks without pay following his actions toward a group of fans last weekend in San Francisco.

He has also been fined an undisclosed — but probably quite hefty — sum of money.

According to reports, McDowell made homophobic slurs, crude gestures and even threatened to knock out a fan’s teeth with a baseball bat. No matter what sparked those reactions, the longtime player and coach was completely in the wrong and is now facing one of the biggest punishments baseball has levied on a coach in a long while.

Dave Wallace has been filling in at McDowell’s post for the Braves on an interim basis. The two-week suspension is retroactive to April 29, when the Braves initially put McDowell on administrative leave.

McDowell will also be required by Major League Baseball to take part in a sensitivity training program.

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.