Red Sox avoid arbitration with new closer Joel Hanrahan

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Joel Hanrahan, who the Red Sox acquired from the Pirates last month, has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $7.04 million.

This was Hanrahan’s final year of arbitration eligibility and so he’ll be a free agent next offseason, which along with the high price tag and Jason Grilli’s emergence played a part in Pittsburgh looking to trade him. He made $4.1 million in 2012.

Manager John Farrell has already said that Hanrahan, not Andrew Bailey, will begin the season as the Red Sox’s closer. Hanrahan saved 36 games last season and 40 games in 2011, throwing a combined 128 innings with a 2.24 ERA and 128/52 K/BB ratio.

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.