* Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and Royals manager Trey Hillman have been named to Joe Maddon’s bench for the All-Star game, but I’m more interested in this note
about the rest of his staff: “Toronto Blue Jays head trainer George
Poulis and Oakland Athletics head athletic trainer Steve Sayles will
round out the AL staff.”
You’d be hard-pressed to find two trainers who’ve presided over more
significant injuries recently than Poulis and Sayles. Apparently Mark
Prior’s personal trainer and Jack Kevorkian weren’t available.
* Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a lengthy update
on Eric Gagne’s comeback attempt, which currently involves starting
games for the Quebec Capitales of the Canadian-American League. Gagne
allowed five runs on nine hits and four walks over 4.2 innings in his
first outing last week.
* Matt Kemp delivered a walk-off single
last night and is now hitting .315/.381/.492 for an .873 OPS that ranks
third on the Dodgers behind only Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake … yet
he’s batted seventh or lower in the lineup for three-fourths of his
* Yesterday the Pirates became the latest–and perhaps last–team to realize the dangers of catching fly balls at the Metrodome.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.