Franklin Gutierrez makes season debut for Mariners

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Franklin Gutierrez hadn’t played since September of last season because of multiple health problems, the latest of which were a torn pectoral muscle and heel injury, but the former Gold Glove center fielder was finally back in the Mariners’ lineup last night.

At this point it’s impossible to say what to expect from Gutierrez, as he hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2009, but last night he went 1-for-2 with a walk and his first RBI since way back on September 2.

Before all the injuries Gutierrez was a good-hitting, catch-everything center fielder who ranked as one of the most underrated all-around players in the league. If he can get back to anywhere close to that level it would be a huge boost to the Mariners offensively and defensively while also allowing them to shift the hot-hitting Michael Saunders to left field, creating a great defensive trio of Saunders, Gutierrez, and Ichiro Suzuki.

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.