Barry Zito suffers sprained ankle while making rehab start

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Giants left-hander Barry Zito was placed on the 15-day disabled list at the beginning of August with a sprained muscle in his right foot.

He made a successful rehab start last Monday at Single-A San Jose, tossing 7 2/3 innings while allowing only three runs, and looked to be on track to return to the major leagues within a week or two. But everything must now be put on hold.

According to beat writer Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Zito suffered a sprained left ankle Saturday evening at Triple-A Fresno while making his second minor league rehab start.

X-rays have already ruled out a fracture, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Sunday morning that Zito is probably going to be sidelined for an extended period of time.

“I saw a picture and it’s pretty bad,” said Bochy. “It’s very swollen. It looks like there’s a baseball in there. It looks like it’ll be quite awhile.”

The injury happened while Zito was attempting to back up home plate. He took an awkward step and his ankle gave out. The 33-year-old has posted a 5.62 ERA and 1.33 WHIP across nine major league starts this year.

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.