Bengie Molina doesn’t plan to play in 2011, will likely retire

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Bengie Molina’s name gets brought up every time a catcher is injured, as if a 36-year-old who was incredibly slow and out of shape to begin with hasn’t gotten older, slower, and heavier in the nine months since he last played an MLB game.

If he hasn’t signed yet he probably isn’t going to sign this season and if he isn’t going to sign this season … well, he’s probably retired.

Molina stopped short of agreeing with that sentiment yesterday, but did tell Jon Heyman of SI.com that he doesn’t expect to play in 2011.

Two months ago Molina expressed interest in re-signing with the Giants following Buster Posey’s season-ending injury, but the interest apparently wasn’t mutual. San Francisco traded Molina to Texas in the middle of last season to clear the path for Posey to play every day and Molina went on to face the Giants in the World Series as the Rangers’ primary catcher, but he hit just .249 with a .297 on-base percentage and .326 slugging percentage in 118 games overall.

And now the title of “slowest player in baseball” is wide open.

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.