Twins talking extension with reliever Jared Burton

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Jared Burton had to settle for a minor league contract with the Twins last offseason following consecutive injury-plagued seasons as a member of the Reds, but he could soon get a pretty nice payday.

According to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500, the Twins are currently discussing a contract extension with Burton. The 31-year-old right-hander is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter, which means he is poised to hit free agency next offseason.

Burton rejuvenated his career with the Twins in 2012, posting a 2.18 ERA and 55/16 K/BB ratio over a career-high 62 innings. Only seven pitchers (min. 60 innings) had a lower ERA. Not bad for someone who appeared in a total of 10 games at the major league level from 2010-2011. Burton served primarily as a bridge to Matt Capps and eventually Glen Perkins this season, but he also notched five saves.

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.