Shaun Marcum pulled from Mets’ spring rotation so that he can “strengthen his shoulder”

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MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo has the story:

Right-hander Shaun Marcum has temporarily stepped out of the Mets’ Grapefruit League rotation, but is not injured. [Manager Terry Collins] said Marcum wants to concentrate on a long-toss program designed to strengthen his shoulder, which gave him trouble last spring. He will return to game action in early to mid-March.

The Mets aren’t calling it a setback, but it definitely is. Marcum allowed four hits and three earned runs over two innings Saturday in his Grapefruit League debut against the Nationals and clearly isn’t anywhere close to full health.

Marcum dealt with both elbow and shoulder issues in 2012 and was limited to 124 innings.

He signed a one-year, $4 million free agent contract with the Mets this offseason.

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.