Conor Jackson retires from baseball at age 30

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Conor Jackson was the 19th overall pick in 2003, soared through the Diamondbacks’ farm system, and posted a promising .292/.371/.451 batting line in 414 major league games between the 2006 and 2008 seasons. But he came down with Valley Fever in early 2009, never completely recovered, and has now officially announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 31 according to MASN’s Roch Kubatko.

Jackson signed a minor league contract with the Orioles this spring but he failed to crack their Opening Day roster and was sporting a weak .200/.333/.240 slash line through 30 plate appearances at Triple-A Norfolk.

Jackson, who turns 31 years old next month, will finish up with 591 career major league hits.

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.