Still experimenting, Rockies add Double-A starter to rotation

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As chaotic as things are with the Rockies pitching staff right now, is this really the time to be adding a top prospect from Double-A? GM Dan O’Dowd obviously thinks so. The club called up Edwar Cabrera today and announced that he’d make his major league debut in starting Wednesday’s game.

He’ll be taking the spot of Alex White, who struggled in both of his outings after the Rockies went to a four-man rotation.

The 24-year-old Cabrera was a late bloomer for Colorado. He didn’t even make his full-season debut until last year, but when he did, he went 8-3 with a 3.34 ERA and a 217/47 K/BB ratio in 167 innings for two A-ball teams. This year, he was 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA and an 82/23 K/BB ratio in 98 innings for Tulsa.

There’s still some skepticism regarding the left-hander. Even though he led the entire minors in strikeouts last year, Baseball America ranked him as the Rockies’ No. 18 prospect entering 2012. While his other numbers this season were great, he had given up 15 homers for Tulsa, a total that suggests he might not be a great fit in Coors Field.

All signs point to Cabrera being used just like the rest of the Rockies’ starters: three days’ rest, 75-pitch limit. That’s the case even though he was used conventionally in the minors: all of his recent starts had come on four days’ rest and he had pitched a total of 22 innings in his last three starts.

Especially in the wake of pitching coach Bob Apodaca’s departure, this seems like the wrong time for the Rockies to be breaking in someone new. Still, I will be very interested to see how Cabrera performs. He has some truly remarkable numbers. In April, he pitched 33 innings and allowed six runs, all of them coming on solo homers. In all, 23 percent of the hits he’s allowed this year have been homers (15 HR, 65 H). No MLB pitcher has ever had such a high ratio in a 150-inning season. Three have in a 120-inning season, and two of those were Coors Field-aided (Scott Elarton in 2001 and Denny Stark in 2002).

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.