O’Dowd: Rockies looking to add a starting pitcher

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Ubaldo Jimenez to Cincinnati?  Not at all likely.  The Rockies are aiming to land a starting pitcher, not subtract one, prior to the July 31 deadline.

Colorado GM Dan O’Dowd told the Denver Post’s Troy Renck that the Rockies are hoping to pick up a starting pitcher under team control beyond this season.

That makes sense, considering that the Rockies are 8 1/2 games back of the Giants in the NL West and 10 1/2 games back of the Braves in the wild card.  Known for some big second-half comebacks in previous years, the Rockies aren’t giving up on 2011 just yet.  However, they’re also not interested in mortgaging the future when they currently have a better record than just four NL teams.

Renck mentions Florida’s Anibal Sanchez as one possibility for the Rockies.  Sanchez, who had a strong case for a spot on the NL All-Star team, is making $3.7 million this year and will be eligible for free agency for the first time after 2012.

Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie, Houston’s Wandy Rodriguez and Cincinnati’s Edinson Volquez are a few other pitchers who could fit for the Rockies.  I’d mention Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey as well, but as an extreme flyball pitcher, he’d likely have difficulties in Coors Field.

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.