Joe Kelly has saved the Cardinals’ rotation

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For most of this season the Cardinals did everything they could to avoid putting Joe Kelly into the rotation, using him as a reliever for the first three months.

Injuries finally forced them to move him into the rotation in early July and he’s been fantastic ever since, going 7-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts. And he’s done that while the rest of the Cardinals’ rotation has fallen apart, with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post Dispatch crunching the numbers to find that St. Louis’ non-Kelly starters have gone 19-18 with a 4.76 ERA during that same span.

Kelly’s secondary numbers are very underwhelming, including a 34/25 K/BB ratio in 58 innings and a .241 opponents’ batting average, but he’s served up just four homers in 247 plate appearances and has given up more than two runs just twice in 10 starts.

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.