Jon Heyman challenges Albert Pujols’s age

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It’s not quite Rick Reilly challenging Sammy Sosa to pee in a cup, but SI.com’s Jon Heyman today tried to reopen the debate on Albert Pujols’ age:

If albert pujols wants to beat $200M 9-yr cardinals offer, he should produce birth certificate. skepticism abounds over 31 claim

Pujols, who was born in the Domincan Republic but who went to high school in Missouri, has been dogged by age rumors since before he was drafted and in particular since he proved to be a man among boys upon debuting with the Cardinals in 2001. Many believe that he’s two or three years older than his listed age.

Still, we’re guessing Heyman wouldn’t have gone here if Pujols were a Scott Boras client.

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.