Josh Kinney out “several weeks” with stress reaction in side

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From beat writer Greg Johns of MLB.com comes word that Mariners reliever Josh Kinney will be out of commission for the next “several weeks” because of a stress reaction on the left side of his rib cage.

Kinney was expected to open the 2013 regular season in a middle relief role, but he can be ruled out for Opening Day and probably won’t be ready for a rehab assignment until late April or early May.

The 33-year-old right-hander registered a cool 3.94 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 35 relief appearances last season, fanning 36 batters in 32 innings. He signed a one-year, $700,000 contract with Seattle this winter as a first-year arbitration-eligible player.

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.