Rich Harden is between injuries again

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Rich Harden threw 40 pitches in a simulated game yesterday and afterward manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that the oft-injured right-hander “looks terrific to me.”

In fairness to Melvin, he’s new in Oakland and hasn’t been through the usual routine with Harden and his never-ending injuries.

Slusser reports that Harden is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment for his current shoulder problems Monday at Triple-A. Previously there was some thought given to moving him to the bullpen in an effort to keep him healthy for once, but general manager Billy Beane told Slusser that Harden will be used as a starter thanks to injuries wrecking the A’s rotation.

He hasn’t pitched in the majors since last September and had a 5.58 ERA with a terrible 75/62 K/BB ratio in 92 innings for the Rangers last season.

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.