Injuries force Cy Young winner Brandon Webb to retire

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After a series of unsuccessful comebacks from shoulder injuries former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb has decided to retire, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Before all the arm problems Webb had a nasty power sinker that produced tons of ground balls along with a good strikeout rate, which is a rare combination that’s essentially ideal for a pitcher. Among the 136 pitchers with at least 1,000 innings since 2000 he had the highest ground-ball rate at 64.2 percent and the lowest home run rate at 0.63 per nine innings.

That’s some serious worm-killing.

He debuted for the Diamondbacks in 2004 and posted an ERA below 3.60 in each of his first six seasons, combining to throw 1,315 innings with a 3.24 ERA during that time. And before the shoulder injury Webb was incredibly durable too, tossing an average of 227 innings per season from 2004-2008.

Unfortunately he started to show signs of being hurt in late 2008 and then was shut down after starting on Opening Day in 2009. And he never pitched in the majors again, retiring now at age 33. Webb won the Cy Young award in 2006, finished runner-up in both 2007 and 2008 … and then it was all over. Injuries suck.

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.