Phillies activate Placido Polanco from the disabled list

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The Phillies have activated Placido Polanco from the 15-day disabled list, according to Martin Frank of the Wilmington News Journal. He is batting second against Randy Wells and the Cubs on Saturday afternoon.

Polanco was cleared to return after playing in minor league rehab games on Thursday and Friday. He was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI for the GCL Phillies yesterday.

Polanco was batting .318/.349/.433 with five home runs and 27 RBI before going on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation on June 26. The hurting Phillies are batting just .224 with a .274 on-base percentage this month. Polanco’s return isn’t a cure-all and it’s not like his elbow is 100 percent, either, but he certainly represents a marked improvement over the garbage they’ve been throwing out there recently.

To make room on the roster for Polanco, the Phillies released Juan Castro.

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.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.