Ryan Westmoreland to see first game action since brain surgery

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Red Sox outfield prospect Ryan Westmoreland is getting back on the field a year and a half after surgery to remove a cavernous malformation from his brain stem.

The 21-year-old Westmoreland will serve as a designated hitter in Dominican instructional league games this week. The current plan is for him to get one at-bat Thursday and two on Friday.

Westmoreland appeared well on his way to establishing himself as one of the game’s top outfield prospects after hitting .296/.401/.484 in 223 at-bats as a 19-year-old in the New York-Penn League in 2009. Baseball America rated him Boston’s No. 1 prospect following that season.

If all goes well in the Dominican Republic, then Westmoreland should be able to resume playing in the minors next season. Even after two years off, he’s still young enough to potentially make an impact in the majors someday.

For more on Westmoreland, check out Charles Pierce’s story on his recovery from back in March.

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.