Bruce Bochy: “Barry Zito is our fifth starter next year”

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By trading Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals yesterday the Giants opened up a rotation spot and manager Bruce Bochy said that Barry Zito is the man for the job.

During a radio interview with KNBR today Bochy revealed: “I’m not gonna hide from it. Barry Zito is our fifth starter next year.”

Zito started just nine games this year because of injuries and ineffectiveness, and there was speculation throughout the season that the Giants might finally decide to eat his salary and release the veteran left-hander.

However, while Zito was a massive free agent bust and incredibly overpaid he’s also more often than not been a decent back-of-the-rotation starter and there’s no reason to part with that when the Giants are paying him either way. Zito had a 4.03 ERA over 192 innings in 2009 and a 4.15 ERA over 199 innings in 2010, and just about every team in baseball would be thrilled to get that out of their fifth starter.

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.