Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto

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This is fun reading, but I can’t wait for the “this is a sabermetrician’s wet dream” cracks from old media:

Look out Ichiro Suzuki and Daisuke Matsuzaka. A pair of
baseball-playing robots that can pitch and hit with incredible results
have been developed in Japan.

The pitching robot, with its three-fingered hand, can throw 90
percent of its pitches in the strike zone, won’t need any relief from
the bullpen and never asks for a pay raise. The batting robot, which
has a sensor to determine if pitches are strikes or balls, hits balls
in the strike zone almost 100 percent of the time, doesn’t swing at
pitches outside the strike zone, and is guaranteed to pass all drug
tests.

But here’s the best part:

The pitching robot throws a plastic foam ball at 25 miles per hour,
but Ishikawa is hoping to increase the speed to 93 mph and make it able
to throw off-speed pitches like curves and sliders.

Hopefully he’ll have better luck with the robots than Leo Mazzone did with Daniel Cabrera.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.