The Cardinals buy their Triple-A team

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Not a lot of teams do this, but the Cardinals did: they bought their Triple-A team, the Memphis Redbirds. Also, the City of Memphis is buying AutoZone Park, where the Redbirds play.  They’ll in turn lease it back to the Redbirds.

The current owner is the Memphis Redbirds Foundation, a non-profit. There’s a lot of debt, however, and the ballpark needs upkeep and renovation. Part of the deal involves the city making a capital investment in the park.

The Cardinals have long been interested in buying the Redbirds, but previous efforts went nowhere, be it because of the financial or the leadership of it all. But now it’s sealed. This makes the third of the Cardinals’ four full-season minor league affiliates to be owned by the team. Also Cardinals-owned: the Class AA Springfield club and Class A Palm Beach club. The club also owns its short season Gulf Coast League affiliate.

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.