Tony Gwynn has cancerous tumor removed from mouth

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Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn underwent surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor from his mouth and may need “a nerve graft” from his shoulder or leg “to preserve facial functions,” according to Tom Friend of ESPN.com.

Eighteen months ago Gwynn developed a malignant growth inside his right cheek, which he attributed to years of using smokeless tobacco as a player.

Friend notes that the “intricate” surgery requires five doctors, with Gwynn’s wife saying:

Hopefully, his face will work fine. Hopefully he’ll be able to blink his eye. They said they will make his face as normal as they can … and that it might be better than it was.

That sounds pretty scary, but for now at least Gwynn is hoping to return to his job as San Diego State’s head coach next month.

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.