Andrew Albers starts his career with 17 scoreless innings

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As a 27-year-old former independent leaguer with a mid-80s fastball Andrew Albers simply being called up by the Twins was a helluva story. And then the soft-tossing left-hander threw 8.1 shutout innings in his big-league debut last week.

But wait, it gets even better. For his encore last night Albers tossed a complete-game shutout against the Indians, beginning his MLB career with 17.1 scoreless innings just three years after pitching in the independent Canadian-American Association.

Here’s a list of all the pitchers in baseball history to throw at least eight shutout innings in each of their first two games:

Andrew Albers     2013
Tom Phoebus       1966
Karl Spooner      1954
Al Worthington    1953
Dave Ferriss      1945
Johnny Marcum     1933

That’s it. That’s the whole list. A total of six pitchers and Albers is the first one to do it in nearly 50 years.

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.