The Orioles acquired right-hander Alec Asher in trade with the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for cash or a player to be named later, the team announced.
As Orioles players continued to clear out their lockers in Sarasota on Wednesday morning to prepare for their impending move north, newly acquired pitcher Alec Asher arrived carrying his Philadelphia Phillies equipment bag over his shoulder.
Asher, who was acquired from the Phillies on Tuesday for cash or a player to be named later, joined his new team on its penultimate day in Sarasota. As everyone around him is getting ready to break camp, Asher is getting used to new surroundings.
"It's tough," Asher said. "It's tough. It's definitely different to be traded during the season. You don't really have a say, so you get acclimated. You get used to it. It's a way of life, and it's something that's fun."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday he'd like to get Asher – who has posted a 7.80 ERA and allowed 29 base runners in 15 spring training innings this year – into a game before the start of the season. But he will only have two more opportunities to do so: Thursday's Grapefruit League finale against the Detroit Tigers or Friday's exhibition game at Triple-A Norfolk.
Asher last pitched Saturday, allowing two runs in a three-inning start against the Boston Red Sox.
Asher said he was "a little surprised" to be dealt this late in camp, but added he was looking forward to joining the Orioles.
"You never think it's going to be you, but it's just the nature of the job. You just do as you're told," he said. "I'm happy to be here. I'm excited, and I'm ready to start a new chapter. … [The Orioles are] a tough team. They're a good team. You know they're going to be ready to swing the bats, so it's nice to be on this side of it. Like I said, I'm excited to join these guys and help win some games."
This is the second time in in 20 months that Asher has been traded. He was part of the blockbuster deal that send left-hander Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers at the 2015 nonwaiver trade deadline.
"They always say being traded is good, because it means the team that's getting you wants you," he said. "It's exciting to just be able to come over here and help them win games."
Asher does have minor league options remaining, so his landing spot to start the season is likely Triple-A Norfolk.
At least for the next few days, Asher will have a familiar face a few lockers down in first baseman-outfielder Trey Mancini. Both players are from Polk County, just northeast of Sarasota, and they were teammates on a local high school scout team for players looking for exposure by playing junior colleges before their senior years.
"Yeah I saw we got him yesterday," Mancini said. "I was like, 'Aw, man. I really haven't played with him since that Polk County high school scout team.' It was pretty cool to now play [together] at this level. It's neat.
"I think he might have pitched a complete game. They beat us like 7-4, which I remember very well even though it was seven years ago."
Thoughts from McDowell
Orioles pitching coach Roger McDowell gave his thoughts on the spring and some of the pitchers who will be pivotal to the team's fortunes this season. Here are the highlights:
>> Manager Buck Showalter said earlier this week the Orioles had an idea of who the fifth starter would be when that spot comes around on April 15, but McDowell said it's not decided yet.
"There are guys that are still in the mix for that fifth starter's role, so that being said, we'll continue to look at the progress and see where we're at, and when we need that fifth starter, Buck will make that call," he said.
On those pitchers — Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Jayson Aquino, Gabriel Ynoa and Chris Lee — McDowell said there have been facets of their games that impress.
"From a depth standpoint, [it's] understanding also where they are in their development and what improvements need to be made as far as certain pitches need to improve in order to pitch at the major league level," McDowell said. "But the competitive standpoint and the physical standpoint, it's very impressive. Having that depth is always going to be a good thing."
>> McDowell said left-hander Wade Miley, who with four innings Tuesday has 13 spring innings completed as he heads north, will find a way to build up for the season.
"You'd like to get the innings up a little bit, but understand both him and [Ubaldo] Jimenez had one start prior to everybody else — before [Kevin] Gausman and [Dylan] Bundy jumped in there," he said. "He missed that start [because of illness]; it was basically two weeks of nongame competition. But I think from him understanding, he's been through some spring trainings and he has an understanding of what he needs to do as far as the preparation involved in the major league season. We'll get there."
>> McDowell hasn't gotten to see much of Chris Tillman this spring, as he comes back from shoulder soreness, but knows it's harder on the pitcher than it is on him.
"I think the guy that is hurting is Tilly," McDowell said. "I don't mean that in a literal sense, but from the standpoint that he's not able to go out there and do something he loves to do. We're going to take this process and be careful with it and move forward at the pace that his health allows. So that being said, that's the guy that goes out and competes. As far as me seeing him, hopefully I'll see a lot of him. But I know he wants to be out there as soon as possible."