Justin Morneau took batting practice, “had a really good day”

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Justin Morneau’s comeback from neck surgery was delayed earlier this week when his scheduled workouts were rained out on back-to-back days, but the former MVP took batting practice yesterday at Target Field and reported no problems.

“He had a really good day on the field with BP and ground balls and the whole package,” manager Ron Gardenhire told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. “Everything went good.”

Assuming his next couple rounds of batting practice go well (or good, whatever) Morneau could be cleared to participate in simulated games or perhaps even begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

He hasn’t played since June 29 and before that struggled mightily while coming back from the concussion that ended his season in early July last year, hitting just .225 with four homers and a .619 OPS in 55 games.

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.