O's name Felix Pie as starting left fielder

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Felix Pie.jpgIt’s been a tough day at the office for Orioles manager Dave Trembley. He already made one tough decision, picking David Hernandez over Chris Tillman for the final spot in his rotation, but he made another notable one later in the afternoon, naming Felix Pie as his Opening Day left fielder over Nolan Reimold.

Reimold is batting just .231 (9-for-39) with one home run and three RBI this spring while Pie is batting .393 (11-for-28) with two home runs, three RBI and two stolen bases. Trembley insists that the decision wasn’t about production, but only to protect Reimold, who is slowly working his way back from surgery on his left Achilles’ tendon.

“This is not a slight on (Nolan) Reimold, but this is the right thing
for Reimold. He’s not 100 percent. You think I’m going to go ask him to
bust his butt on turf?” Trembley said.

The Orioles are set to open their season against the Rays in Tropicana Field, so it appears he is taking the prudent approach.

For those worried about Reimold losing the grip on the job that was seemingly his, remember that Pie’s struggles in the first half last season are what brought Reimold to the majors in the first place. It’s possible that Pie could blossom into the star he was long ago hyped to be — and his second half last season at least hinted at that possibility — but I’m expecting the two outfielders to split playing time until Reimold is at full strength.
 

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.