Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro was able to take batting practice on the field Wednesday in camp, but it was his first time doing so this spring and he remains questionable for the beginning of the 2014 regular season because of back problems that have become a chronic source of discomfort.
Scutaro told Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that he “played through worse last year,” but he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game and there’s been no indication that his debut will happen soon.
Tony Abreu, Joaquin Arias, and Ehire Adrianza are among the Giants’ unexciting internal options to handle second base in Scutaro’s potential early-season absence.
Scutaro, 38, signed a three-year, $20 million contract with San Francisco in December 2012 — about a month after helping the Giants to a World Series title. He will hobble his way into the second year of that deal.
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.