Jose Offerman says he was provoked

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Thumbnail image for Offerman bat.jpgESPN’s Jorge Arangure links a Spanish language report in which Jose Offerman says that the umpire he struck had spoken badly about his mother. I took a bunch of Spanish about 20 years ago and forgot most of it, but I kind of got the gist from the article.  But to be totally professional about it, I put Offerman’s quotes through Google Translate:

“He
mentioned my mother in the classic tone of someone trying to offend a
man, and that’s where my reaction came to throw a punch.”

OK, I think the nature of translation software makes Offerman sound a bit more formal than he likely is, so I’ll paraphrase the rest:  Offerman says that there were multiple problems with the umps during the series, and that it all came to a head after his catcher, Ronny Paulino, was ejected after some argument with the home plate ump about a replacement ball following a wild pitch. Later, when Offerman comes out to argue with Daniel Rayburn — not the one who ejected Paulino, but the crew chief — Rayburn gave Offerman some derivation of “yo momma” and Offerman let fly. He says, however, that he never hit him, and that Rayburn’s hitting the ground was a big show.

Maybe. The video certainly reveals the contact, if indeed there was some, to be minor at best, and it sure looks like Rayburn took a dive  Still, when you’re Jose Offerman and you have a history destroying a freakin’ player’s life via an assault with a baseball bat, you’re not going to get the close calls.

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.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.