Ryan Dempster worried about far more than baseball

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Ryan Dempster has a lot on his plate, and not just in making preparations to head to Mesa, Ariz., for spring training.

The Chicago Cubs pitcher is dealing with a personal battle as well, trying to help his 10-month old daughter deal with a serious ailment. (From the New York Times):

Ryan and Jenny Dempster’s 10-month-old daughter, Riley, was born with DiGeorge syndrome, a developmental disorder caused by a defective chromosome. She requires nearly constant medical attention.

Her digestive system has been affected. Unable to swallow, Riley spends mealtime tethered to a feeding tube, while another tube in her tiny throat allows for the draining of built-up secretions that could seep into her lungs and impair breathing. It’s her only manifestation of the illness.

Riley Dempster has spent more than three months in hospitals in Chicago, Philadelphia and Phoenix, and has had four surgeries. The Dempsters hope that physical therapy will help her strengthen the muscles used to swallow and that she will eventually learn to do so.

Meanwhile, Dempster and his wife have started a foundation to help raise awareness – and money – for the cause, in part to help others who can’t afford treatment.

You can read all about it here.

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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.