Francisco Liriano broke his arm while “trying to startle his kids” on Christmas morning

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Francisco Liriano cost himself a lot of guaranteed money when he broke his non-pitching arm this offseason. The Pirates tore up a two-year, $12.75 million deal and it was replaced with one that only guarantees him $1 million. He can get it all back if he achieves certain benchmarks and has his 2014 option vest, but it’s still a lot more risk because of a freak accident.

Or was it a freak accident? In January it was reported in a Dominican Republic newspaper that he broke his arm “in a bathroom fall.” But Liriano reported to Pirates camp in Bradenton today, and this is the story he gave:

The father in me is wondering if the starling was of the “bang hard on a door to make the kids think Santa Claus is trying to come in the house or something weird like that” variety or the “these monsters are hyper as hell and I need to get their attention so I’m gonna bang it on this door” variety.

Either way: man, what a way to potentially cost yourself $11 million bucks.

Liriano also said he needs four more weeks of rehab before he can throw off a mound.

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.