You’ll never guess which team has the AL’s best record since the All-Star break

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Over in the National League the top records since the All-Star break belong to teams that have been strong all season: Cincinnati, Washington, Atlanta.

However, as Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times notes the American League’s top post-break record belongs to the team that had the league’s worst record going into the break.

Seattle went 36-51 in the first half, but the Mariners are now 23-13 in the second half and tied with the Rays for the AL’s top mark during that time. And the doubly amazing part is that they had a five-game losing streak within that, meaning the Mariners went 23-8 surrounding the five losses in a row.

They’re still in last place in the AL West at 59-64 overall, but thanks to the second Wild Card being added the Mariners are now at least on the fringes of contention. With just two more wins they’ll match their 2010 win total and eight more wins will match their 2011 win total.

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.