TAMPA — I’m at Steinbrenner Field for the Masahiro Tanaka debut today. As I was waiting for his arrival to the Yankees’ clubhouse this morning, another player of note walked in. No one walked over to his locker so I figured I would.
Me: Derek, do you have a second?
Me: What’s it like having a day here where you aren’t the guy everyone is here to see?
Jeter: I’m never that guy. He is [Jeter points to Brian Roberts, two lockers down. Roberts guffaws]
Jeter: What’s going on today?
Me: Well, Tanaka is pitching.
Jeter: Is he? Didn’t even know that. [Jeter is grinning now]
Jeter: Well, come back later and I’ll let you know what that’s like.
All that was missing was him waving his hand, telling me that these are not the droids I’m looking for and telling me to move along.
He’s so damn smooth.
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.