Ryan Madson had a setback in his return from Tommy John surgery

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When the Angels signed Ryan Madson to be their new closer they seemed pretty confident that he’d be ready for Opening Day after missing all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery, but suddenly that’s looking like a long shot.

Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Madson experienced a setback in his recovery when he had elbow soreness during a mound session on February 1 and hasn’t thrown since then.

Madson beginning the season on the disabled list would open the door for Ernesto Frieri to serve as closer. Madson’s one-year deal with the Angels is worth $3.5 million in guaranteed money, plus another $3.5 million in potential incentives based on games finished and days on the active roster.

Remember when the Phillies were on the verge of re-signing Madson to a four-year, $44 million contract last offseason and, at least according to agent Scott Boras, had agreed to the deal? Does wriggling out of those negotiations now count toward the “Ruben Amaro Jr. is a ninja” evidence?

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.