Pablo Sandoval is shrinking!

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At the beginning of last week, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle published a story about Pablo Sandoval and his offseason workout program.  The third baseman, of course, was claiming to be in “the best shape of his life” and ready to turn his career around after a disappointing 2010 campaign.

We were skeptical.  Sandoval tried a similar diet and workout plan last winter and he wound up actually putting on more weight in the end.

But take a look at this picture (to the right, or here) that “Kung Fu Panda” is using on his Twitter profile.  Schulman said that Sandoval was down 17 pounds.  Another reporter claimed he had dropped 22 pounds.  We’re thinking it might be like 30 pounds, at least.  He looks like half of his former self.

Sandoval exploded onto the major league scene in 2009 with a stellar .330/.387/.556 batting line, 25 homers and 90 RBI.  He got MVP votes.

It all took a tumble last year as he battled conditioning issues, but the 24-year-old appears to be serious about making the correct changes.

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.