Roy Halladay is working on new things? Really?

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Another classic spring cliche is the pitcher who is “working on some things.”  Usually that’s just a way of explaining away a bad early March outing — “I wasn’t really pitching, I was just working on some things!” — but in the case of Roy Halladay, it sounds like he may actually be working on things. Jim Salisbury:

“There are a couple of things I want to try,” he said. “For any pitcher, you’re always trying to improve on what you already do. For me that’s always the case.”

Halladay wasn’t ready to reveal the new things he is working on this spring.

“I’m going to keep them in my pocket until I decide whether or not they work,” he said with a smile.

Let’s see, he already has four pitches that he can throw wherever he wants at any time in the count, so that doesn’t leave much in the way of new things to work on, does it?

Wait! I got it! He’s going to learn how to paste pathetic palookas with a powerful, paralyzing, perfect, pachydermous, percussion pitch!  Italian style!

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.