Insurance issue to keep Troy Tulowitzki from playing in World Baseball Classic

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Troy Tulowitzki made it clear that he wanted to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic despite missing most of last season following groin surgery, but the decision has been taken out of his hands by an insurance company.

Tulowitzki has $140 million remaining on his long-term contract and the Rockies have the deal insured, which means the insurance company gets to decide if they want him playing in an exhibition tournament. And they don’t, predictably.

It’s the same issue that Albert Pujols faced in potentially playing for the Dominican Republic and Joey Votto may run into the same problem for Canada. Obviously the WBC would love all the biggest stars to play, but the bigger the contract the smaller the chance they’ll be cleared to participate.

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.