O’s closer Jim Johnson (back) one week behind

6 Comments

From MASN’s Roch Kubatko comes word that Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been bothered recently by back tightness and is one week behind the other pitchers in big league camp.

But there isn’t much concern about his ability to get back near full health by the start of the season.

Johnson said the condition is “subsiding.” And as a reliever with little need for a major Grapefruit League innings total, he should be able to play catch-up rather easily.

The 28-year-old right-hander posted a cool 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 69 appearances last season, striking out 58 batters and issuing only 21 walks in 91 innings. He’ll be saving games for Baltimore this year.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
2 Comments

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.