Alexei Ramirez exits game with back stiffness; considered day-to-day

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White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was forced to exit this afternoon’s game against the Indians in the top of the fourth inning due to back stiffness.

Ramirez left the game after he drew a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Moises Sierra. He’s considered day-to-day according to the team’s official Twitter account, so it doesn’t sound like something that will necessarily take him out of the mix for next week’s All-Star Game. He’s a first-time All-Star this year.

Ramirez has faded a bit since a red-hot start to the season, but he’s still batting .282/.318/.400 with eight home runs, 41 RBI, and 15 stolen bases over 95 games.

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.