Twins prospect Kyle Gibson may need Tommy John surgery

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As if Minnesota hasn’t had enough injuries on the big-league roster this season now the Twins’ top prospect, 2009 first-round pick Kyle Gibson, has been shut down with elbow problems and underwent an MRI exam to determine if he needs Tommy John surgery.

Gibson got off to a good start at Triple-A, but then went 0-5 with a 6.47 ERA from June 1 through mid-July before the Twins decided to take him out of Rochester’s rotation.

He’s scheduled to be examined by team doctors early next week and in the meantime Twins minor league director Jim Rantz told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that “you’re always concerned it might be his ulnar nerve” and “there’s enough concern that we’re bringing him to Minnesota.”

Gibson, who fell to the Twins with the 22nd pick coming out of college because of a fracture in his forearm, ranked 61st on Baseball America‘s list of top prospects coming into the season and pitched in the Futures Games during the All-Star break last month. Back in spring training there was talk of Gibson joining the Twins’ rotation in the second half, but now he might be out until 2013.

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.