After skipping the All-Star Game, Victor Martinez aiming to be in Tigers’ lineup Friday

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Victor Martinez is skipping the All-Star Game because of a side and back injury–allowing teammate Ian Kinsler to join the team in his place–but the Tigers designated hitter is aiming to rejoin the lineup Friday when Detroit begins the second half versus Cleveland.

Martinez has been out since July 4 and hasn’t gone on a minor-league rehab assignment, but told Jason Beck of MLB.com that “there’s like a 95 percent [chance] that I’m going to be able to play when I get back on Friday.”

Before the injury Martinez had an MVP-caliber first half at the plate, hitting .328 with 21 homers, 19 doubles, and a career-high .991 OPS in 80 games while walking (33) more than he struck out (23).

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.