The Jackie Robinson movie “42” to open next April 15

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Just got a press release announcing that the Brian Helgeland film, “42,” the Jackie Robinson story, will open next year on April 15, the anniversary of Robinson’s entry into the big leagues.  They accompanied the announcement with this pic of actor Chadwick Boseman, who will play Robinson. Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey.

I’m pretty stoked for this, not just because it’s a Robinson story, but because of Helgeland. He did the adaptation for one of my favorite flicks ever: “L.A. Confidential.” Based on how sprawling the book was, it was NOT an easy trick to get it into a workable motion picture, but he pulled it off. People’s lives — especially complex people like Robinson — aren’t always well-suited to the movies either, as a pile of good-but-flawed biopics over the years shows.  Here’s hoping that Helgeland can work that same kind of magic again.

We’re just gonna forget that he also wrote the Kevin Costner disaster “The Postman,” OK?

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.