J.D. Drew already has his first nagging injury of 2011

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Buried in Nick Cafardo’s excellent Sunday notes column on the Boston Globe‘s website is this bit of troubling news for Red Sox fans: J.D. Drew has been experiencing discomfort in his hamstring this offseason and is likely to be limited when spring training opens later this month.

Drew battled hamstring problems throughout much of the 2010 season.  He didn’t hit the disabled list once, but that seems likely to change this year if he is already having struggles here in early February.

The good news is that the Red Sox have enough depth to handle the two- or three-week stints when he goes down.  Ryan Kalish is a well-rounded player and just about ready to become a big league regular.  Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald are both quality backups, too.

Boston is used to Drew’s nagging injuries.  He started only 127 games in 2010, 124 in 2009 and 105 in 2008.  That he’s already having problems is unfortunate, but the Sox are prepared.

Drew, 35, is entering the final season of a five-year, $72 million contract that he signed in December of 2006.  He has spoken a few times about retiring when the 2011 season concludes.

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.