Jay Bell named the Pirates new hitting coach

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The Pirates are makin’ moves:

 

Bell, who most recently served as the hitting coach for the Mobile Bay Bears in the Diamondbacks organization, replaces Gregg Ritchie. Sofield, the new first base coach, managed Pirates affiliate the West Virginia Power in the South Atlantic League in 2012. Silverio — who is now the Senior Advisor for Latin American Operations — was the first base coach. Jauss was a scout.

The Pirates were tenth in runs per game in the NL last year, but were 14th in batting average and on-base percentage. Bell, who manned short for the Pirates back when they last actually won stuff, is tasked with improving those numbers.

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.