Report: Ruling close on $1 billion lawsuit against the Wilpons and Saul Katz

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According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff is expected to issue a ruling as soon as Monday on whether to toss all or part of a $1 billion lawsuit against the owners of the Mets.

Trustee Irving Picard is suing the Wilpons and Saul Katz in an attempt to capture funds for victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He seeks $300 million in “fictitious profits” and an additional $700 million in principal from the Wilpon family, alleging that they turned a blind eye to the fraudulent activity.

While Rakoff’s ruling is important, it won’t be the final word on the situation. One potential scenario is that he could throw out the $700 million lawsuit, leaving the rest to be decided at a trial set to begin on March 5, 2012. Rakoff’s ruling could ultimately lead the two sides to have more serious talks about a settlement.

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.