Padres prospect Drew Cumberland forced into retirement

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A hat-tip to Baseball America for pointing out the Pensacola News Journal story on Drew Cumberland, a Padres prospect whose career is now over because of an inner-ear condition known as bilateral vestibulopathy.

Cumberland was a supplemental first-round pick in 2007.  He hit .350/.385/.505 with seven homers and 21 steals between high-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio last year, and BA named him San Diego’s No. 9 prospect entering this season.

Cumberland, though, went down this spring with vertigo-like symptoms and hadn’t played since.  Suffering from the effects of repeated concussions, he experienced constant headaches and dizzy spells.

“There were times when I thought I was losing my mind,” Cumberland said. “The headaches were coming from so deep in my brain, it was hard to explain to someone. I would talk to (the Padres’) psychiatrist because, honestly, I thought I was going crazy.”

After his diagnosis, Cumberland tried resuming workouts in late June, only to have to shut it down after a few days because he symptoms returned.  As a result, he’s now pursuing a coaching a career at the tender age of 22.

Check out the News Journal article for the full story.

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.