Nationals will continue to start Stephen Strasburg at home

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They’ll say it’s not about the money.  But it’s very much about the money.

The Nationals have mapped out Stephen Strasburg’s September schedule, and in what should come as a surprise to no one, the plan is for him to keep pitching at Nationals Ballpark.

Strasburg, who made his season debut Tuesday against the Dodgers, was already set to pitch on four days’ rest Sunday against the Astros in D.C.  He’ll make his subsequent two starts on five days’ rest Sept. 17 against the Marlins and Sept. 23 against the Braves.

If all three outings go as hoped, the Nats said there’s a chance he could start Sept. 28 in Florida in what will be the team’s season finale.  Still, that’s not part of the plan at this point.

Unless Strasburg makes that start, all four of his September outings will have come at home.  And who can blame the Nats for trying to work things out that way?  Half the reason they made the announcement now is to try to sell tickets for those dates.  There just isn’t much other reason for Nationals fans to head to the ballpark at the moment.

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.