Bruce Bochy: “Hard to put a target date” on Barry Zito’s return

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Barry Zito is off crutches two weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a sprained foot, but manager Bruce Bochy said yesterday that it’s “hard to put a target date” on his potential return.

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Zito was examined Wednesday by a foot specialist and is no longer forced to wear a protective boot, but “cannot yet put full weight on his injured foot.”

According to Bochy he won’t be cleared to resume throwing until fully participating in workouts for at least one week, which means Zito is likely still at least three weeks from possibly rejoining the Giants’ rotation. For now Ryan Vogelsong has replaced him.

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.