Stephen Strasburg is first pitcher to 100 strikeouts this year

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Stephen Strasburg tossed six innings of two-run ball in a series-sweeping victory over the Blue Jays this afternoon and in the process became the first pitcher this season to crack 100 strikeouts.

Justin Verlander is next up with 95 strikeouts, so he’ll likely join Strasburg in the triple-digit club when he starts tomorrow against the Cubs.

As for Strasburg, he’s 8-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 100/20 K/BB ratio in 77 innings this season, allowing just five homers and a .213 opponents’ batting average through 13 starts. He’s now made 30 total starts for his career–12 before Tommy John surgery and 18 after–and Strasburg is 14-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 216/39 K/BB ratio in 169 innings.

During that time his 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings leads all pitchers with 25-plus starts and no one else has more than 10.0. And his 5.54 strikeouts per walk is the third-best in baseball behind only Cliff Lee at 6.81 and Roy Halladay at 6.27, with no other pitcher above 4.75. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 24 years old until 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.