Reds demote Tony Cingrani to Triple-A, call up Jumbo Diaz

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Reds left-hander Tony Cingrani was one of the best pitchers in the league last season as a 23-year-old rookie, throwing 105 innings with a 2.93 ERA and 120 strikeouts, but he missed time with back problems down the stretch and has struggled this season.

Last night he walked in the game-winning run against the Pirates and today the Reds demoted Cingrani back to Triple-A.

If healthy he has nothing left to prove in the minors, as Cingrani had a ridiculous 1.15 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 31 innings at Triple-A before being called up in 2013, but his health is very much in question and the Reds weren’t comfortable letting him work through any issues versus big-league hitters. He’ll no doubt be back in Cincinnati soon, because Cingrani remains a huge part of the Reds’ long-term plans.

To replace him on the roster the Reds called up career minor leaguer Jumbo Diaz, a 30-year-old reliever who’s listed at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds. More importantly Diaz has a 1.35 ERA at Triple-A this season after posting a 1.66 ERA there last year. He certainly deserves a chance to show that he’s for real.

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.