Albert Pujols is “hurting real bad”

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You’d never know it if you looked at his stats — the Angels’ slugger is hitting .317 with eight extra-base hits — but Albert Pujols has been bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot. With another start at DH this afternoon, he has now started more games as the DH (nine) than as the first baseman (eight). Pujols himself admits the injury is bothering him.

“I’m dying,” Pujols said according to Bill Shaikin. “It’s hurting real bad.”

The Angels will continue to use Pujols until he cannot handle the pain anymore.

“You’re always picking at a scab a little bit, when you’re trying to play and trying to run,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “Certainly, you don’t want it to regress. He’s swinging the bat real well.

“You want to keep it to where he can still DH and hopefully get him to first base at some point.”

The Angels have used Mark Trumbo at first base when Pujols has been the DH, which should be the case for the foreseeable future.

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.