Neil Walker is in The Best Shape of His Life

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Man, this is two days old! The things I miss at the Winter Meetings. From Tom Singer’s report at MLB.com:

According to the GM, [Neil] Walker “is getting close to getting into his [regular] offseason routine after a great rehab program … The rehab went really well, and he’s worked his tail off and looks forward to coming into Spring Training in the best shape of his life.”

Right on the nose, but I fear the era of BSOHL stories is drawing to a close. Singer, the writer, is quite aware of this being a meme. With the writers are aware, next will come the agents and players and eventually, I’d say within a year or two, even team owners and officials will either avoid the cliche or only offer it with a wink.

Sad, I suppose, but also the final evidence of the success of the BSOHL awareness campaign.

 

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.