Jon Lester will stay in Red Sox rotation to face Yankees

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Following his latest ugly outing Sunday there was speculation that Boston would remove Jon Lester from the rotation, but instead the Red Sox will keep him on schedule to start again Saturday and simply adjust his between-starts routine a bit.

In what manager Bobby Valentine called “a nice proactive plan” Lester will prepare for Saturday’s start by throwing a simulated game Wednesday instead of his usual bullpen session.

Not only was Sunday’s start the worst of Lester’s career with 11 runs in four innings, he’s allowed 22 runs in 12.1 innings over his last three starts and now has a 5.46 ERA in 120 innings overall.

Valentine told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that Lester insists he “feels great and is throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball in a couple of years.” Saturday will be a helluva test for that, as Lester will face the Yankees, in New York.

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.