Heyman: Andre Ethier has Boston on his mind

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It’s something of an old rumor, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman has stirred it back up again, saying Andre Ethier is frustrated with the Dodgers and has hopes of joining the Red Sox at some point in his career.

According to Heyman, “many people connected to the Dodgers say that Ethier is more dismayed by the financial and on-field troubles than he has publicly admitted.”

Heyman goes on to quote a “person close” to Ethier as saying:

He’s got his best buddy Dustin Pedroia telling him how great Boston is. In Andre’s mind, [the Dodgers situation] is embarrassing. And Boston has a different [vibe] right now.

Ethier isn’t a free agent until after 2012, so the Red Sox wouldn’t be able to simply sign him and plug him into J.D. Drew’s spot after the season.  Whether they’d be open to trading for him remains to be seen.  According to UZR, Ethier rates as one of the game’s worst defenders the last four years, costing the Dodgers 35 runs in the outfield.

Now that seems a little excessive, and UZR actually has Ethier as three runs above average so far this season.  Still, Ethier isn’t going to get any faster with age, and he might well be able to help a team more at first base, which is a position he couldn’t play in Boston with Adrian Gonzalez locked up.

The Red Sox have one of the game’s most difficult right fields in Fenway Park and two guys with potential in Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish as possibilities to step in during 2012, so they may sit out this chase.  However, if the Dodgers make Ethier available, there will be plenty of suitors.

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.