David Ortiz wins Clemente Award, says he’d like to return to Red Sox

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David Ortiz, who will be a free agent this winter, said last week that he was open to joining the New York Yankees next season.

On Thursday, while speaking to reporters in St. Louis after winning the Roberto Clemente Award, Ortiz clarified those comments about free agency. The upshot? People made too much about what he said about the Yankees, and he would actually like to return to Boston once the Theo Epstein mess is sorted out and the team finds a new manager.

“Of course, I would like to come back,” he said. “They have a lot of things going on right now. So once they go through all the stuff, GM and managing things, I think they’re going to start talking to the players. So, we’ll see. We’ve got time.”

And what about the Yankees?

“I never said that I would sign with the Yankees. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” he said. “They asked me if I would play for the Yankees. I said I would think about it. But I didn’t confirm to nobody that I would play for the Yankees. I’m still a Red Sox, aren’t I?”

Ortiz is right, of course. All he said was that he would have to think about going to New York if the Yankees showed interest, which seems like a perfectly reasonable way to approach free agency. That being said, he shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction given the nature of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.

So there you have it. To sum up: David Ortiz would consider being a Yankee, but would like to stay in Boston. Also, he didn’t say it, but I’m guessing he would play in Seattle or Kansas City if the money was right. OK well, really right.

Now, back to the World Series …

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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.