UPDATE: Pablo Sandoval not yet confirmed to play in Venezuelan Winter League

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UPDATE: Apparently Sandoval isn’t a done deal to play in the Venezuelan Winter League. At least not yet.

Via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sandoval tweeted following Bochy’s comments this afternoon, calling them “rumors” while saying that he won’t make up his mind until early December. Odd, but there you go.

(Thanks to Giants Nirvana for the link)

8:20 PM: Giants manager Bruce Bochy confirmed this afternoon that Pablo Sandoval has been granted permission to play 10 games in the Venezuelan Winter League next month, reports Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. He’ll leave for his home country on December 10.

That he’ll participate is another good sign for the state of his strained left shoulder, which was an issue for him during the second half of the season. Sandoval took some swings in the cage from the right side of the plate during the recent “All-Star Series” in Taiwan and the Giants are confident he should be 100 percent by spring training.

The most pressing matter for Sandoval this offseason is, once again, his conditioning. While he appeared to gain most of the weight he lost last winter, he told Bochy in Taiwan that he hasn’t packed on any additional pounds since the end of the regular season and that he plans to report to spring training even lighter than he did last year.

“I respect and trust that Pablo will come in the same shape he did last year,” Bochy said.

Sandoval, 25, batted .315/.357/.552 with 23 home runs, 70 RBI and a .909 OPS over 466 plate appearances this season.

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.