Diamondbacks re-sign catcher Henry Blanco for $1.2 million

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UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the deal is worth $1.2 million and according to MLB Trade Rumors there’s also a $1.24 million mutual option for 2013, so Blanco essentially got an extra $50,000 for opting out.

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Henry Blanco opted out of a one-year, $1.15 million deal with Arizona yesterday, but the veteran catcher is apparently close to returning to the Diamondbacks on a new contract.

General manager Kevin Towers told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that they’ve “pretty much agreed to terms” that will presumably pay him a few more bucks on another one-year commitment.

Blanco has never been much of a hitter, but he remains an elite defensive catcher and is coming off a career-year at the plate in limited action. At age 40 he’s well suited for a part-time role and as a right-handed hitter backing up left-handed-hitting starter Miguel Montero is an ideal fit.

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.