Hanley Ramirez says he can’t put on his shoes due to back problem

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Hanley Ramirez, the National League’s other extremely disappointing superstar, was held out of Monday’s lineup after leaving Sunday’s game with lower back soreness.  He told the Palm Beach Post the discomfort there and in his upper left leg “the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life, in my career.”

Ramirez said the back has been bothering him for “maybe a month,” but that he kept it secret from everyone except manager Edwin Rodriguez.

I feel it doing anything. I can’t even put my shoes on. To get up from bed I have to take 10, 15 seconds. I have to do everything slow. That’s the worst pain Ive ever had in my life, in my career, that back…

I’m getting tingles in my (upper left) leg. That’s not a good sign. That’s what we’re worried about right now, to get this thing out of my leg.

Incredibly, Ramirez still hasn’t seen a doctor about the problem, though it looks like he’ll finally be forced to now.  An MRI also seems likely.

The back isn’t necessarily the root of Ramirez’s problems: he’s actually played quite a bit better this month than he did in April.  Still, it’s definitely an issue and the Marlins may want to stash him on the DL to see if he can come back at 100 percent in a couple of weeks.

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.