The strange voyage of Brett Wallace continues.
Steve Campbell of Houston Chronicle reports that Wallace was recently dropped from his Dominican Winter League team. The 25-year-old batted .173 (9-for-52) with two home runs and nine RBI over 20 games before getting the boot from the Escogido Lions.
Astros general manager Ed Wade, who was busy at the general managers’ meetings this week in Milwaukee, told Campbell that he wasn’t aware of Wallace’s release.
“He’s been struggling down there, and it’s a very competitive environment,” Wade said.
It’s not usual for players to be dropped from winter ball, as teams are there to win as opposed to doing any favors for MLB teams, but this is just the latest turn in a disappointing year for the former top prospect. Wallace left spring training as the starting first baseman, but eventually lost his job to Carlos Lee and was sent back down to the minors in late July. He batted .259/.334/.369 with five home runs, 29 RBI and a .703 OPS over 378 plate appearances at the major league level this season.
Lee, who has one year left on his six-year, $100 million contract, is set to open 2012 as the starting first baseman while Wade says that Wallace will have to “win a job” on the Opening Day roster.
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.
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.