Mat Latos throws six scoreless innings in 2014 debut

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Reds right-hander Mat Latos finally made his 2014 season debut on Saturday evening. And it was good.

Latos, who missed all of April and May due to calf, knee, and elbow issues, struck out four batters and surrendered only two hits over six scoreless innings in a no-decision against the Brewers at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. He left the game at 87 pitches with the Reds leading 1-0. Unfortunately the Cincinnati bullpen couldn’t keep the visiting team on top.

MLB.com has highlights from the 4-2 Brewers win.

Latos, among the most underrated front-line pitchers in baseball, owns a 3.27 ERA (121 ERA+) in 426 innings since joining the Reds before the start of the 2012 season. He’ll get the Blue Jays next.

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.