Johnny Damon turned down the Red Sox because he thought the Tigers wanted him

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Remember last August when the Red Sox claimed Johnny Damon on waivers and some talk of a trade happened?  There was a day or two’s back and forth on that, as Damon had a limited no-trade clause that prevented him being traded to the Red Sox without his approval. Ultimately he said no to the idea and rejected the deal.

Today Damon tells Alex Speier of WEEI why he did so:  because he thought that the Tigers wanted him back in 2011. Except at the time Damon claimed that the determining factor was whether he’d get playing time down the stretch, not whether he’d be brought back for 2011.

Not that this is a giant issue or anything. It’s not like the Red Sox would have kept him either, and he’d probably still be in Tampa Bay right now.

But to the extent Damon’s current claim implies that the Tigers misled him or something, it seems to be a bit too much.  To take Damon’s word for it, he inquired last year if the Tigers were going to play him in 2010. He was satisfied with their answer.  As such, he shouldn’t be saying that it was anything the Tigers told him about 2011 that kept him from OK’ing a trade to Boston.

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.