Orioles claim Steve Pearce off waivers from the Yankees

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The Orioles announced this afternoon that they have claimed Steve Pearce off waivers from the Yankees. Pearce was designated for assignment earlier this week when the Yankees activated Brett Gardner and David Aardsma from the 60-day disabled list.

This will be Pearce’s third team this season and his second stint with Baltimore. The Orioles acquired him from the Yankees in June and he batted .254/.321/.437 with three home runs and 14 RBI in 83 plate appearances with the club before being claimed off waivers from the Astros in late July. The Yankees then got him back from the Astros in late August for a player to be named later. And now he’s back with Baltimore. Quite a weird year.

Pearce won’t be eligible for the postseason roster, but it would be pretty interesting if he does something to help the Orioles top the Yankees in the American League East. Don’t underestimate that “Oriole Magic.”

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.