Penny engaged to Dancing With The Stars’ Karina Smirnoff

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Brad Penny gelled immediately with pitching coach Dave Duncan this year in St. Louis and posted a solid 3.23 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in his first nine starts for the Cardinals, but he went down with a lat injury in late May and never resurfaced due to injury setbacks.

He’s back in the news now, but not for baseball reasons.  According to People Magazine, Penny got engaged recently to longtime girlfriend Karina Smirnoff, one of the more popular professional dancers on ABC’s Dancing With The Stars.

Penny will be a free agent this winter and will probably be seeking an incentive-laden one-year deal like the $7.5 million one that he scored last offseason from St. Louis.  The big right-hander has always been an effective starter when healthy and owns a career 4.11 ERA and 6.27 K/9.

He should be able to find a decent contract in a free agent market that is thin on quality starting pitchers.

Smirnoff, pictured on the right playing catch with Penny, danced this season with Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from MTV’s Jersey Shore.

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.