Justin Upton to see hand specialist for thumb injury

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Justin Upton’s thumb injury is suddenly looking like a bigger deal. FOXSportsArizona’s Jack Magruder reports that he’ll get an MRI and see a hand specialist. A DL stint is a possibility.

Upton was a trendy pick to win NL MVP honors this year after busting out for 31 homers as a 23-year-old last season. However, with the thumb limiting him, he’s opened this season with a .212 average and no RBI through 10 games.

Fortunately, the Diamondbacks have the depth to cover an Upton injury. While many rallied against the team’s signing of Jason Kubel over the winter, it did turn Gerardo Parra into the league’s best fourth outfielder. He can play regularly in right field for however long Upton is out. If the Diamondbacks hadn’t signed Kubel, they might well have been left playing Willie Bloomquist in the outfield and John McDonald at shortstop for the duration of Upton’s absence. The Triple-A options (David Winfree, A.J. Pollock and Cole Gillespie) aren’t very attractive.

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.