Nelson Cruz back in Orioles’ lineup after HBP scare

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You could hear the collective shriek from Orioles fans on Sunday when Nelson Cruz was struck on the left hand by a Scott Feldman fastball. But all is well.

Cruz is in the Orioles’ starting lineup for Tuesday night’s series-opener against the Rangers — his first time back in Arlington, Texas since signing a one-year, $8 million free agent deal with Baltimore this past winter. Cruz will bat third and start in left field.

The 33-year-old slugger is batting .314/.384/.672 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 54 games this season for his new team.

That’s a 59-homer and 153-RBI pace. Not bad value at $8 million.

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.