Adam Wainwright optimistic about extension talks

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Adam Wainwright is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going to catch a whiff of the open market.

According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, the right-hander said Saturday at the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up that he and his agent discussed the parameters of a long-term contract extension last summer with the St. Louis front office and that he felt good about the course of the conversation. “I liked where it was headed,” Wainwright told reporters.

The two sides are expected to get serious about negotiations when camp opens in Jupiter, Florida.

Wainwright, 31, owns a spectacular 3.15 ERA and 1.21 WHIP through his first seven major league seasons. He signed a very team-friendly deal before hitting arbitration so he’s probably going to want to cash in now.

Matt Cain’s five-year, $112.5 million pact with the Giants can serve as a kind of blueprint. The Cardinals should have enough room in their budget to accommodate that — a benefit of letting Albert Pujols walk.

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.