Rangers sluggers Cruz and Hamilton nearing rehab games

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The Rangers should be whole again soon.

According to the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, right fielder Nelson Cruz is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Monday at Double-A Frisco and left fielder Josh Hamilton is expected to join him on Wednesday.

Cruz has been sidelined since May 3, when he strained his right quadriceps muscle. He should only need three or four rehab games before the Rangers clear him to return to the major leagues.

Hamilton might need a bit longer. He’s been on the disabled list since the second week of the regular season with a broken bone in his upper right arm and is likely to require a full week of minor league at-bats to get his timing back.

Texas is also missing starting center fielder Julio Borbon, who hit the disabled list this weekend due to inflammation in his left hamstring. It’s no wonder the Rangers have fallen to second place in the AL West.

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.