This Mother’s Day players can use pink bats by any manufacturer

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Remember Major League Baseball’s idiotic decision last season to prohibit players from using pink bats on Mother’s Day unless they were manufactured by Louisville Slugger? Thankfully, that has been reversed. Ken Rosenthal reports:

Players will be allowed to use pink bats with logos from any MLB-approved manufacturer on Mother’s Day, ending a controversy that arose last season and clouded baseball’s efforts to raise awareness for breast cancer.

The decision reverses a stipulation from the past two years that required players to use only Mother’s Day bats with logos from Louisville Slugger, the baseball partner that helped create the breast-cancer initiative in 2006.

Good move. But I still smack my head every time some “exclusive rights” argument wins, even temporarily, with respect to a matter that is unconnected with regular profit-driven business. This is a charitable and awareness thing and the fact that anyone decided to get huffy over a player using another company’s pink bat apart from Louisville Slugger is the sort of thing that makes me lose faith in humanity.

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.