Stephen Strasburg gets Opening Day start for Nationals

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For the third straight season the Nationals have turned to Stephen Strasburg as their Opening Day starter, choosing him over Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

“He’s earned it,” rookie manager Matt Williams told Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, noting that he also gave serious consideration to Zimmermann.

Last season Strasburg threw 183 innings with a 3.00 ERA and 191/56 K/BB ratio, while Zimmermann–who will start Game 3 of the season after Gonzalez takes the mound in Game 2–threw 213 innings with a 3.25 ERA and 161/40 K/BB ratio.

Ultimately the order of a rotation matters little and the Nationals have perhaps the best collection of front-line starting pitching in the league, especially if Doug Fister gets healthy soon and joins the mix as the No. 4 starter.

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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.