Will Venable agrees to two-year deal with Padres

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Will Venable was already under team control through 2015, but Corey Brock of MLB.com reports the Padres have signed the outfielder to a two-year, $8.5 million deal that buys out his final two seasons of arbitration eligibility.

Venable didn’t debut until age 25 and didn’t become a regular until age 27, so he’s old for a player with his level of service time. Which is why it wouldn’t have made much sense for the Padres to go past two more seasons with a good but not great player who’s already 30.

Venable is having a career-year, hitting .273 with 20 homers, 15 steals, and an .818 OPS in 129 games and this way the Padres get some cost certainty. He’s making $2.68 million this year.

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.