Alex Avila cleared to return

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Be it a concussion, a “mild concussion,” a sore jaw or whatever else you want to call it, Alex Avila has been cleared to return to action:

Catcher Alex Avila has been cleared to play now that the headaches from his sprained jaw have disappeared. Avila probably will start tonight against the Twins after missing the entire A’s series.

“My jaw is going to be sore for another few days,” he said. “But I feel more normal. No more headaches.”

Maybe it’s just the nature of the coverage Avila and the Tigers get, but it sure seems like there has been less concern about this than one normally sees with a player who was knocked unconscious and suffered memory loss.  All good now? That fast?  Ok …

 

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.