Joey Votto is just about ready for active duty.
The 28-year-old first baseman hit a solo home run Saturday in his rehab debut with Triple-A Louisville, finishing 1-for-3 with two strikeouts while feeling no lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired knee.
Votto went 1-for-5 with with an RBI and three walks in his first three rehab games last week with the Low-A Dayton Dragons, and seems to be almost back to full health after an absence of nearly two months.
The plan, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, is for Votto to return to the Reds on Monday.
Cincy enters play Sunday with an 8.5-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.
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.
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.