Joakim Soria targeting June return from elbow surgery

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Texas signed Joakim Soria to a two-year, $8 million deal to serve as Joe Nathan’s setup man, but it won’t be for a while.

Soria told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he’s targeting late May or early June for his return from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Soria underwent the surgery last April and many pitchers have returned with 12 months, but the former Royals closer called that timetable “not realistic” and noted that he’s yet to begin throwing off a mound.

Without Soria in the mix for the first 2-3 months the Rangers will lean on newly signed Jason Frasor along with guys like Josh Lindblom, Tanner Scheppers, and Robert Ross.

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.