Nine Hall of Fame ballots were returned blank

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There were 573 ballots returned to the Hall of Fame this year. Nine of them came in blank.

Blank ballots vex me. If they are genuine assessments that no one — not one single candidate — on the ballot is worthy, they strike me as evidence of a voter whose standards are unreasonably high and who is possessed of a basic failure of performance assessment and a general lack of understanding of baseball history.  Whether you’re small-hall, big-hall, anti-PED or PED-apathetic, there has to be at least one candidate who appeals to you, right? I mean, Javy Lopez got a vote.

If, on the other hand, a blank ballot is a protest of some kind, such a thing strikes me as evidence that the voter in question is not worthy of his ballot.  You’re a writer: protest in your column. You’re tasked with voting for the Hall of Fame: take your task seriously.

I would like to see voters have reveal and/or explain their ballots publicly in some way. I would truly like to hear why someone honestly believes that a blank ballot is justified.  Because to me it makes no sense.

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.