Travis Hafner hasn’t officially called it a career despite hitting just .202 with a .679 OPS in 82 games for the Yankees last season, but the former slugger has gone into coaching.
Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hafner has joined the coaching staff at Notre Dame College–which is not to be confused with the University of Notre Dame–and will be a volunteer assistant coach for the Division II team. Notre Dame College’s head coach is Len Barker, who spent 11 seasons in the majors as a starting pitcher and threw a perfect game in 1981.
However, Hafner made it clear that he’s still hoping to sign with a team and continue playing at age 37: “I’m working out every day, getting ready for the upcoming season. The body and swing feel good.”
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.
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.