Red Sox in contract talks with Cody Ross

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Two months ago there were reports that the Red Sox were “very interested” in re-signing impending free agent Cody Ross and then reports that the two sides were on the verge of a deal, so I’m not quite sure what to make of today’s news.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that “contract talks between the Red Sox and Ross have gained some momentum,” citing an unnamed source.

Boston has until five days after the World Series to keep Ross from hitting the open market as a 31-year-old free agent coming off a season in which he hit .267 with 22 homers and an .807 OPS in 130 games.

Ross had a very solid year, but it’s interesting that he’s suddenly in demand after having to settle for a one-year, $3 million deal from the Red Sox as a free agent last offseason. Back then he was coming off a sub par season, but Ross’ career numbers (.262 batting average, .783 OPS) are basically identical to his 2012 production with the Red Sox and he’ll be 32 years old in December.

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.