Brad Lidge aiming to begin rehab assignment Monday

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Brad Lidge, who has been on the disabled list all season with elbow and shoulder problems, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do so again tomorrow, at which point the Phillies may clear him to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the rehab stint could start as soon as Monday, but notes that the Phillies may ask Lidge to make 8-12 appearances before rejoining the bullpen.

That seems like an awful lot of work in the minors unless he looks terrible early on and for his part Lidge told Salisbury that he’s aiming to return “sometime between the All-Star break and the end of July.”

Charlie Manuel has stated previously that Ryan Madson would remain the closer even after Lidge is back, but now Madson is also on the DL with a hand injury and those plans could potentially change if Lidge beats him back from the DL and thrives right away. In the meantime Antonio Bastardo will continue to fill in as closer.

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.