Jason Kipnis hopeful to return from sore elbow on Friday

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Jason Kipnis is out of the Indians’ lineup tonight for the fifth straight game due to a sore left elbow, but the hope is that his return isn’t far off.

According to Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Kipnis completed a full batting practice session this afternoon at Progressive Field. While he reported some “expected” soreness, he came out of it feeling good and is hopeful to return to the lineup tomorrow night when the Indians begin a three-game series against the Astros in Houston.

“Right now, at this moment, I feel like I’m good enough to play Friday,” Kipnis said after BP, which for him ended about 5:20. “But we’ll see how the elbow reacts to this activity. I won’t know my status for sure until the morning.”

The sore elbow provides some context for Kipnis’ slow start, as he’s hitting just .125 (4-for-32) with three doubles, two RBI and 11 strikeouts in eight games. The 26-year-old batted .257/.335/.379 with 14 home runs, 76 RBI, 31 stolen bases and a .714 OPS in 152 games with the Indians last season.

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.

Ervin Santana gets Opening Day nod from Twins again

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Ervin Santana will once again start on Opening Day for the Twins, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. He’ll face the Royals at home in a day game on Monday, April 3.

The last pitcher to start back-to-back Opening Days for the Twins was Carl Pavano in 2011-12.

Santana, 34, is entering the third year of a four-year, $55 million contract signed in December 2014. Last season, the right-hander finished with a solid 3.38 ERA and a 149/53 K/BB ratio over 181 1/3 innings.