Carlos Gonzalez cleared for live batting practice

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Via beat writer Thomas Harding of MLB.com

Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez will take batting practice on the field Thursday and is pushing toward an injury rehab assignment after recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from his left index finger.

Rockies trainer Keith Dugger guessed on June 11 that CarGo would be out five weeks, so he’s right on schedule. The 28-year-old was batting just .255 with a .756 OPS before the surgery, but that relative lack of production can be blamed on the tumor in his finger, which had been bothering him for much of 2014.

Gonzalez hit .302/.367/.591 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 110 games last year.

When he returns, the Rockies’ starting outfield will likely be Gonzalez in left, Charlie Blackmon in center, and Corey Dickerson in right. Michael Cuddyer is out until August with a major shoulder injury.

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.