Johan Santana throws off a mound, feels good

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Stepping on a mound for the first time since September surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, Johan Santana threw a 24-pitch bullpen session this afternoon at the Mets’ spring training complex in Florida and said afterward that he felt “very good.”
Santana noted that he’s now able to fully extend his arm, which was problematic last season and lessened the effectiveness of his amazing changeup. For now the plan is for Santana to wait until the second week of spring training to make his Grapefruit League debut and then gradually work his way up to throwing 90 pitches by Opening Day, but when the Mets and injuries are involved “plans” tend to change.

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.