Losing Chipper Jones really hurts the Braves

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The Chipper Jones narrative this year has been “nice career, but he’s washed up and it’s just about over.” And there’s a lot of truth to that. But little noticed has been that Jones has rebounded nicely from a slow start. As Dave O’Brien notes over that the AJC, since mid-June, Jones has hit .304 with 10 doubles and seven home runs over 43
games. In the past week he’s hit three homers in seven
games.

Now, however, he could be gone for the rest of the year.  Jones is talking big and the preliminary diagnosis is a sprain, but the fact is that he crumpled to the ground last night, said that he heard a pop and Bobby Cox is openly talking about him being out for the rest of the season.

Which could be a killer. The Braves are already dealing with the loss of Martin Prado and — last night’s homer notwithstanding — a prolonged slump from Troy Glaus. They’ve needed Jones’ bat these last few weeks and will certainly need it in order to stay ahead of the Phillies.

Omar Infante is currently filling in for Prado. Which means that we’ll probably see last night’s hero Brooks Conrad or — if Bobby Cox is daring — either Glaus or Eric Hinske spend some time at third until Prado returns. No matter who fills in, however, Jones’ loss is a big one, both from a competitive perspective and for team morale.

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.