Stephen Drew “looks very unlikely” for Opening Day

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Two weeks ago Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew admitted that missing the beginning of the season was a possibility as he recovers from last year’s broken ankle and now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic takes it one step further.

Piecoro writes that no one has ruled out Drew being ready for the opener, but “the clock’s ticking … looks very unlikely to me.”

Piecoro added that “Drew hasn’t done much in the way of running the bases, hasn’t faced live pitching, hasn’t slid.”

On the other hand, manager Kirk Gibson said that the Diamondbacks plan to “push him pretty good this week” in an effort to see exactly where Drew stands with the season less than a month away. John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist are Arizona’s backup options at shortstop, so the Diamondbacks have the market cornered on scrappiness even if their offense will suffer without Drew.

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.