Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte to be available in Rule 5 draft

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The Yankees added 2B David Adams, OF Zoilo Almonte, INF Corban Joseph, RHP D.J. Mitchell and RHP David Phelps to the 40-man roster prior to Friday’s deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 draft, but they left switch-pitcher Pat Venditte off the list, making him eligible to be picked on Dec. 8.

It will be interesting to see if anyone grabs Venditte. The Yankees selected the ambidextrous pitcher out of Creighton in the 20th round of the 2008 draft, and he’s had a stellar minor league career to date. In 2010, he had a 1.73 ERA and an 85/14 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings in the Florida State League. Last season, he had a 3.40 ERA and an 88/31 K/BB ratio in 90 innings for Double-A Trenton.

The Yankees, though, made it pretty obvious through their actions that they never viewed him as a potential major leaguer. He was initially a closer in the minors, but the Yankees took him out of that role and treated him as a middle reliever beginning in 2010. They also brought him along ridiculously slowly; Venditte, who turned 26 in June, should have been challenged with Double-A in 2010 and Triple-A last season.

Because he possesses below average fastballs with both arms, Venditte, who uses a six-fingered glove on the mound, is more of a curiosity than a prospect. Still, some team may want to take a look at him next spring. It’d be fun to see him try to frustrate some major league switch-hitters.

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.