Brandon McCarthy tosses a four-hit shutout as the Yankees top the Astros

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This morning, in that Andy Martino story from the Daily News, Brandon McCarthy talked about how working as quickly as Mark Buehrle was unrealistic and that any pitching clocks should take his time to the plate, and add at least a few seconds. Guess he’s from the do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do camp, because that dude worked extremely quickly and extremely effectively today, beating the Astros 3-0 in a cool two hours, seven minutes. That’s even better than most Buehrle games.

And it wasn’t just fast, of course. It was crazy-effective. McCarthy needed just 107 pitches to shut the Astros out on four hits. He struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter. Seventy-nine of his 107 pitches were strikes. Do that and work fast and you pretty much moot any conversation about baseball dragging.

McCarthy is 5-2 with an ERA under two since coming over to the Yankees. A free agent after this season, his audition in the Bronx is likely to make him an awful lot of money.

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.