Phil Hughes diagnosed with back stiffness

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From Sweeny Murti of New York’s WFAN comes word that Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes departed in the fourth inning of his ALCS Game 3 start against the Tigers because of a stiff back.

Hughes cruised through the first three innings before yielding a solo home run to Delmon Young and a walk to Andy Dirks. He motioned for a trainer two pitches into the next at-bat against Jhonny Peralta and departed the field after a short conversation with the Yankees’ head trainer and manager Joe Girardi.

Hughes held the Orioles to one earned run over 6 2/3 innings during his lone outing in the ALDS. He threw a career-high 191 1/3 innings during the 2012 regular season. It’s a cold night at Comerica Park.

The Tigers currently lead this ALCS Game 3 by a score of 2-0. Justin Verlander is throwing a gem.

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.