Royals ink Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract

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After securing Brad Penny as a non-roster invitee yesterday, the Royals added another familiar name today by signing reliever Guillermo Mota to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Mota hasn’t pitched professionally since 2012 as a member of the Giants when he posted a 5.23 ERA over 26 appearances. He served a 100-game suspension that year after his second positive test for performance-enhancing drugs. That was the longest PED suspension ever before Alex Rodriguez’s recent ban. Miguel Tejada was handed a 105-game suspension last summer, but it was for amphetamine use.

Mota owns a 3.94 ERA over 14 seasons in the majors. He’ll turn 41 in July.

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.