Jason Heyward could be activated as soon as Monday

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While the Braves aren’t any closer to getting left-hander Jonny Venters back from an elbow injury, their lineup could receive a nice boost in the coming days.

According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jason Heyward went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts today in his first minor league rehab game with Triple-A Gwinnett. He’ll remain in the minors through the weekend, but Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated that he could be activated as soon as Monday’s series opener against the Diamondbacks.

Heyward is now two and a half weeks removed from his emergency appendectomy. He said late last month that he was hoping to make it back by the end of May, but fortunately for the Braves, he has made significant progress in recent days.

Heyward, 23, was batting .121 (7-for-58) with two home runs, five RBI and a .519 OPS in 17 games prior to the procedure. Jordan Schafer, Reed Johnson and Evan Gattis have all received looks in the outfield during his absence.

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.