17-year-old pitcher Julio Urias, a Mexican native, started Saturday afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Padres. The lefty tossed a perfect first inning, striking out two before departing. The Dodgers signed Urias in August 2012 and he made his professional baseball debut last year with Single-A Great Lakes, finishing with a 2.48 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.
All of that is impressive enough, but Urias has loftier goals in mind:
As MLB Network Radio’s Mike Ferrin noted on Twitter, if Urias does make his Major League debut, he would be the first to do so at the age of 17 or younger since Larry Dierker in 1964. Dierker made one start and two relief appearances, racking up nine innings in which he allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five.
Urias is expected to start the season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times.
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.
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.