Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer shut down for two months

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As if the Yordano Ventura news wasn’t enough to ruin every Royals fan’s day, now top prospect and 2012 fifth overall pick Kyle Zimmer has been shut down for 6-8 weeks with a strained lat muscle.

Zimmer hasn’t seen any game action this season and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that when he finally started to throw against live hitters in extended spring training last week “Zimmer felt tightness” and “his velocity dipped to 89 mph.”

Zimmer finished last season on a high note by posting a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Double-A, ranking as a consensus top 50 prospect and potentially clearing the way for a first-half debut for the Royals, but now it seems unlikely that he’ll reach the majors at all this season and getting cleared for minor-league games is no sure thing either.

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.