Ubaldo Jimenez has allowed 21 runs in 21 innings for Indians

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Cleveland gave up such a valuable package of prospects to get Ubaldo Jimenez from Colorado in large part because he’s signed through 2014 and thus not simply a stretch-run pickup, but the Indians can’t be happy with how he’s looked in the early on.

Jimenez failed to make it out of the fourth inning yesterday against the Tigers, coughing up a career-high eight runs, and has now allowed 21 runs in 21 innings for the Indians.

Jimenez’s inconsistent velocity was a potential red flag leading up to the trade deadline and health-related worries reportedly scared off some teams. In both 2009 and 2010 he averaged 96.1 miles per hour with his fastball, but yesterday he averaged 93.1 miles per hour and topped out at 95.9 mph. That’s still plenty fast, but a three-mph drop from a 27-year-old is significant and has been Jimenez’s story all year.

Cleveland acquired Jimenez to make 110 starts, not four starts, but if he can’t provide big-time value down the stretch this season and in 2012 the trade is only going to look worse once prospects Drew Pomeranz and Alex White arrive in the majors for good.

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.