Adam LaRoche and the Nationals are “working toward an agreement”

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Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post spoke to Adam LaRoche about his ongoing contract talks with the Nationals and the impending free agent first baseman said “there’s nothing definitive” but “they’ve laid a little bit of the groundwork.”

LaRoche will decline his half of a $10 million mutual option following a strong bounceback season that saw him hit .271 with 33 homers and an .853 OPS after being hurt for most of last year.

LaRoche is 32 and not quite an elite hitter, but because the free agent market is weak for big bats he should have no trouble landing a multi-year deal.

“I would like to stick around for a few years,” LaRoche told Kilgore. “Whether that’s two or four, that’ll be up to these guys. I would like to stay. I haven’t changed my position at all since I made it clear I wanted to stay here. I hope they get it done.”

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.