Lance Berkman activated from disabled list

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After batting .235 (4-for-17) with a double over six games during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis, Lance Berkman was activated from the disabled list by the Cardinals this afternoon.

Berkman has been sidelined for nearly a month due to right knee inflammation. The 36-year-old isn’t quite 100 percent, so he’s expected to serve as a pinch-hitter and backup first baseman down the stretch while Allen Craig will remain a fixture in the starting lineup.

Berkman has been limited to just 28 games this year due to knee and calf injuries, batting .267/.389/.467 with two homers and seven RBI over 90 plate appearances. He has already hinted that this could be his final season.

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.