Matt Kemp unlikely to return before the All-Star break

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There’s no firm timetable yet for Matt Kemp’s return from a hamstring strain that he aggravated just two games after coming off the disabled list, but manager Don Mattingly admitted yesterday that the center fielder is unlikely to play before the All-Star break.

That also means Kemp won’t play in the All-Star game, although being on the DL wouldn’t preclude him from being selected to the National League team.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Kemp will likely be asked to spend a week or so rehabbing in the minors before being activated and even that assignment isn’t guaranteed to start before the break on July 10.

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.