Anibal Sanchez throws simulated game, hopes to return Sunday

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Anibal Sanchez has been sidelined since April 26 due to a blister on his right middle finger, but he’s getting closer to rejoining the Tigers’ starting rotation.

Jason Beck of MLB.com notes that Sanchez threw 60 pitches over four simulated innings earlier today. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus gave his throwing session a “thumbs-up” and said that his stuff looked good, but they’ll see how he feels tomorrow before announcing the next step. The hope right now is that he’ll be able to return to pitch Sunday night against the Red Sox.

Coming off an AL-best 2.57 ERA last season, Sanchez posted a 3.13 ERA and 24/11 K/BB ratio in 23 innings over his first five starts this year prior to landing on the disabled list.

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.