Yuniesky Betancourt signs with NPB’s Orix Buffaloes

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Yuniesky Betancourt was said to be drawing interest last week from multiple major league teams, but free agents follow the money and the 31-year-old infielder is headed to Japan on a one-year guaranteed contract with the Orix Buffaloes.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal broke the story first.

Betancourt likely would have had to settle for a non-guaranteed minor league deal had he remained in North America. He gets better money in Nippon Professional Baseball and a much better chance for regular playing time.

A poor defender with an even poorer career on-base rate, Betancourt might have already played his final game in the majors. He batted just .212/.240/.355 in 409 plate appearances last season with the Brewers.

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.