Twins “remain strongly interested” in Bronson Arroyo

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Even after signing free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to multi-year contracts and re-upping with Mike Pelfrey, the Twins are still trying to make improvements to a starting rotation that ranked last in the majors in 2013 with a hideous 5.26 ERA. The Astros finished second-worst with an ERA of 4.81.

This comes from Mike Berardino, the lead Twins beat writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Arroyo turns 37 years old in February and has averaged just 87.2 mph on his fastball over the last two seasons, but he’s one of the most durable starting pitchers in baseball and can junkball his way to productive results. Arroyo registered a 3.79 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 202 innings this past season for the Reds.

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.