Yankees, Hiroyuki Nakajima unlikely to agree to deal before Friday’s deadline

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The Yankees and Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima have until Friday at 5 p.m. ET to agree on a contract, but Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger was told by “a person with knowledge of the situation” that a deal is unlikely.

The Bombers were given a 30-day exclusive negotiating window with Nakajima last month after submitting a $2 million bid through the posting process.

While the deadline is technically Friday, a deal would likely need to get done sooner because Nakajima would also have to pass a physical. Consistent with what we’ve heard all along, the Yankees view the 29-year-old strictly as a backup player and intend to compensate him as such. No word on the current terms being discussed, but Jack Curry of YES Network reported earlier today that a deal is unlikely to happen unless Nakajima is willing to accept a one-year contract.

Nakajima batted .297/.354/.433 with 16 home runs, 100 RBI and 21 stolen bases last season with the Seibu Lions. He is a .302 career hitter in Nippon Professional Baseball. If the current reports are accurate, it looks like he’ll be playing there again in 2012.

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.