The A-Rod-Randy Levine emails are . . . weird

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Steve Fishman of New York Magazine wrote an epic detailing of the Alex Rodriguez-MLB battle back on December 1. Now, as a spillover from that article, come a series of emails between A-Rod and Yankees president Randy Levine sent from 2011 through the depths of the Biogenesis scandal in August of this year. And they’re, well, weird.

Weird in that they work against each man’s public persona. Levine —  a hard-nosed and intelligent businessman — is often playing the kindly father figure to A-Rod. Meanwhile, Rodiriguez is seriously going to lose points in his competition to become History’s Greatest Monster when everyone sees how often his emails employ the empty jockspeak — “we’ll win tomorrow!” — that is supposedly what head-on-straight athletes are supposed to use.

But overall the emails show a simultaneous warmth and banality between Levine and Rodriguez that seems … off somehow. Like Levine is sort of pandering to a delicate diva in Rodriguez but isn’t too terribly good at it. Which may very well be the true nature of their 2011-12 relationship but it also speaks of a relationship that didn’t have much trust or familiarity to begin with. And then there are some odd asides — Levine makes two steroids jokes! — that now seem way more significant than they might have at the time. It only gets real and testy toward the end once everyone lawyered up.

I suppose anyone’s email correspondence with their bosses might seem weird to outsiders. These are certainly no exception.

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.