Yankees send Ivan Nova to Triple-A to make room for Phil Hughes

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A four-game winning streak wasn’t enough to save Ivan Nova’s roster spot.

In spite of the rookie right-hander’s recent success, he was shipped back to Triple-A on Sunday, with reliever Lance Pendleton coming up to claim his spot.  Phil Hughes is expected to come off the DL on Wednesday to take over in the rotation.

Nova was coming off a win over the Mets on Friday in which he allowed one run in five innings.  The Yankees had won each of his last five starts, with the 24-year-old going 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in the process.  For the season, Nova was 8-4 with a 4.12 ERA.

Still, unless the Yankees decided to suddenly reverse course and send Hughes to the pen, either Nova or Freddy Garcia had to go.  Were the Yankees forced to pick one of the two for the rest of the season, they probably would have chosen Nova.  But Garcia has pitched plenty well enough to stick around, having amassed a 3.28 ERA in 85 innings, and unlike Nova, he wasn’t going to be a phone call away in Triple-A if he had been jettisoned.

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.