Cubs calling up prospect Junior Lake from Triple-A

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With rumors swirling about the Cubs trading various veterans they’ve decided to call up 23-year-old Junior Lake from Triple-A, where he was hitting .295 with four homers and an .803 OPS in 40 games.

After playing shortstop for most of his career Lake shifted to third base this season and has also seen action in the outfield, with general manager Jed Hoyer telling Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that the Cubs want to increase his defensive versatility.

Lake has never been considered a top prospect, in large part because of his poor plate discipline and strike zone control, but he’s also been young for every level of competition, offers very good speed, and has shown some upside offensively overall.

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.