The Aroldis Chapman Era begins on Sept. 1

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John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds will call up top pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman from Triple-A Louisville on September 1.  Why not sooner?  Well, here’s what manager Dusty Baker told Fay and the Enquirer on Wednesday:

“Who do you take off (the roster)?” Baker said. “It would be somebody else who
pitched well. Everyone in the bullpen is throwing excellent. … That’s
not a good message to our guys here when you perform well and get sent
out. They’re looking over their shoulder for fear of getting sent out. I
want them looking at the prize at the end, not looking behind them.”

Chapman, of course, was inked to a five-year, $30 million contract in January.  He has spent most of 2010 as a starter, but the Reds shifted him to relief when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be needed in the rotation this season. 

The move, so far, has worked brilliantly.  The 22-year-old Chapman has fanned 41 batters and tallied a 2.77 ERA in 26 innings out of the bullpen.  He should give a nice shot of energy to the Reds down the stretch.

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.