Orioles closer Jim Johnson (back) throws off mound

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Orioles closer Jim Johnson came down with a bit of back tightness after his first few workouts in spring camp. But the right-hander is already back on track.

According to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, Johnson threw off a mound early Sunday morning in Orioles camp and reported no lingering pain or discomfort. Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that the bullpen session “went great.”

Johnson, 28, posted a cool 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 69 appearances last season, striking out 58 batters and issuing only 21 walks across 91 innings. He will serve as Baltimore’s ninth-inning man in 2012.

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.