Opening Ceremony malfunction gets MLB twist

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A user on Reddit (subreddit r/baseball) posted this picture of Russia’s malfunctioning Olympic rings, photoshopped into a sort of diagram of the current talent makeup in the American League West:

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If we tried this for the other five divisions, which organization would be the broken ring?

AL East: Blue Jays
AL Central: Twins
NL East: Marlins
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Padres

AL Central and NL Central were tough calls. The White Sox finished last in 2013 and the Twins have elite prospects on the way in Byron Buxton, Alex Meyer, and Miguel Sano. But if we’re basing it off the current MLB roster, Chicago is in a better place. It’s a similar situation in the NL, with the Cubs boasting a group of exciting youngsters (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant) but the Brewers looking more competitive for 2014.

You can watch a replay of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony malfunction at this link.

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.