Cardinals activate Yadier Molina from the disabled list

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Yadier Molina is off the disabled list and back in the Cardinals’ lineup today for the first time since July 30, returning after missing the minimum 15 days with a sprained right knee.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has said repeatedly that he plans to give Molina more rest than usual down the stretch, although that’s one of those things that tends to be easier said than done if Molina picks up where he left off hitting .330 and the team is fighting for the NL Central title.

St. Louis is just 12-13 when Molina isn’t in the starting lineup this season, compared to 56-38 when he starts, and while those type of numbers tend to overstate the impact one player can make on a baseball team there’s no arguing that he’s one of the most valuable all-around players in the league.

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.