Jason Kipnis tables extension talks with Indians

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There was a report last month that the Indians were discussing a multi-year contract extension with Jason Kipnis, but the second baseman told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer today that talks have stopped for the time being.

“Once the regular season started, the negotiations stopped,” said Kipnis before Friday’s game against the Rays. “We didn’t want the distraction during the season. I think they felt the same way.”

Kipnis barely has one year of major league service under his belt and likely won’t qualify for arbitration for the first time until after the 2014 season, so there isn’t a huge sense of urgency to get a deal done right now. However, the Indians clearly view him as a big part of their future. The 26-year-old batted .255/.335/.379 with 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .714 OPS in 152 games last season. He plans to talk with the club again after the season.

The Indians were also reportedly discussing an extension with left fielder Michael Brantley, but it’s not clear if those talks have also been tabled.

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.