David Price becomes first Rays pitcher to win Cy Young Award

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After tying for the league lead in wins and finishing first in ERA, David Price claimed his first American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday, picking up 14 of the 28 first-place votes.

Justin Verlander, last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, finished second with 13 first-place votes and totaled 149 points to Price’s 153. Jered Weaver came in third, though he didn’t get the remaining first-place vote. That went to Rays closer Fernando Rodney, courtesy of Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The four-point margin of victory was the closest in an AL Cy Young race since Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain tied for the award in 1969.

Price tied Weaver at 20 wins and ended the year with a 2.56 ERA, just ahead of Verlander at 2.64. Weaver, at 2.81, was the only other AL starter to finish with a sub-3.00 ERA.

Verlander received less run support than Price and ended up at 17 wins. Still, many will argue that he should have won the award. He led the AL in innings pitched and strikeouts. He threw 27 more innings than Price and 50 more innings than Weaver. He also was pitching in front of the worst defense of the trio and in the most favorable park for hitters. On the other hand, he did pitch in the weakest of the AL’s three divisions.

Price previously finished second in the Cy Young balloting to Felix Hernandez in 2010. The three-time All-Star is 61-31 with a 3.16 ERA since debuting with the Rays at the end of the 2008 season.

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.