Ron Washington and Tony La Russa name their All-Star Game coaching staffs

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Because the All-Star Game counts, tough strategic planning is required and that in turn requires an all-star caliber coaching staff to make the tough calls.

Hahaha, just kidding. The only thing more rare than baseball strategy in the MLB All-Star Game is defense in the NBA All-Star Game and contact in the Pro Bowl.

But the teams need coaches all the same, if for no other reason to give the managers someone their own age to talk to. And today AL manager Ron Washington and NL manager Tony La Russa announced their staffs.

La Russa has named Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and Mets manager Terry Collins as his official N.L. coaches.  He has filled out the rest of his staff with, basically, the entire staff of the 2011 Cardinals: Dave Duncan will be the pitching coach, Derek Lilliquist will be the bullpen coach, Mark McGwire is the hitting coach, Dave McKay and Jose Oquendo will be base coaches and Joe Pettini will be the bench coach. Trainers will be Paul Lessard of the Cincinnati Reds and Jim Lovell of the Braves.

In the AL, Ron Washington will have Ned Yost and Bob Melvin has his official coaches, with Rangers coaches – Dave Anderson, Scott Coolbaugh, Andy Hawkins, Mike Maddux, Jackie Moore and Gary Pettis on staff. Trainers will be Nick Kenney of the Royals, and Lonnie Soloff of the Cleveland Indians.

I’m most looking forward to the first La Russa-Lilliquist call to the bullpen.

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.