Cardinals activate Tony Cruz off the disabled list

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As first relayed by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have activated backup catcher Tony Cruz from the 15-day disabled list. Adron Chambers was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals’ only other September 1 roster move.

Cruz played a whole month with a painful stress fracture in his right forearm and was finally given two weeks off when Yadier Molina was deemed fit to return from his sprained right knee on August 15.

Cruz will serve as Molina’s primary backup down the stretch with Rob Johnson falling back into more of an emergency third catcher role. Cruz, 27, is a .241/.279/.338 hitter in 130 career major league games.

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.