Ben Sheets tosses six scoreless innings in win over Nationals

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After holding the Mets scoreless last Sunday in his first major league start since July 19, 2010, Ben Sheets kept on trucking this afternoon.

Sheets tossed six scoreless innings against the Nationals as part of a 4-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader at Nationals Park. The 34-year-old right-hander gave up just five hits while walking three and striking out six.

After missing all of last season recovering from two major elbow operations, including Tommy John surgery, Sheets now has 12 scoreless innings over his first two starts with the Braves. Just how long he’ll hold up is a legitimate question, but he’s provided quite a lift to Atlanta’s rotation already.

Edwin Jackson suffered the tough-luck loss for the Nationals, giving up just one run over seven innings while striking out nine. His only mistake came on a solo home run by Brian McCann in the top of the second inning. Michael Bourn scored on a wild pitch in the eighth inning while Chipper Jones added a two-run pinch-hit home run in the top of the ninth inning for some insurance.

The Braves have taken the first two games of the weekend series to move to within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Nationals. Randall Delgado will start for the Braves in the nightcap while John Lannan will make his first major league start of the season for the Nationals.

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.