MLB splits up agitator umps Joe West and Angel Hernandez

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Gerry Fraley points out something I can’t believe I missed: Major League Baseball has split up crew chief Joe West and over-zealous cohort Angel Hernandez to start the second half.

Hernandez has been moved on to Gerry Davis’ crew and switched spots with Sam Holbrook.

West’s crew had become notorious for hot-headedness this season.  In the eight days leading up to the All-Star break alone, they had issued six ejections.  Overall, they had ejected 17 players and managers despite already having a week-long break in June.  That’s five more ejections than any other crew had issued.

Hernandez is typically voted baseball’s worst ump whenever those kinds of polls come along, and while West’s reputation isn’t so bad, he has a long history of bumping chins given any provocation at all.  Hopefully, both will be a little calmer apart than they were together.

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.