The Braves exercise options on Infante, Gonzalez; sign Scott Proctor to a one-year deal

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More non-surprising Day One Of The Hot Stove Season news: the Braves exercised options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and ALL-STAR Omar Infante. They also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal for $750,000 plus incentives.

Like I said, no-brainers. Gonzalez wasn’t any great shakes after coming over in the trade from Toronto, but he has pop, can still field well enough and, more importantly, he’s better and cheaper than just about any realistic option on the shortstop market.  Infante, of course, constituted about two-thirds of the bailing wire that held the team together once Chipper Jones and Martin Prado went down with injuries.  Brooks Conrad was the bubblegum, but the less said about him the better.

Proctor only pitched in six games for the Braves, but it was a rehab year for him.  The incentive deal sounds right for a guy with his history, but if he’s back to his old form in 2011, Atlanta won’t mind paying the incentives.

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.