Brandon Webb throws, thinks he'll be ready for season

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Good news for Arizona Diamondbacks fans: Brandon Webb threw off a mound on Tuesday for the first time since his shoulder surgery in August, and as he tells MLB.com, “[It] went good.”

Webb, a three-time All-Star and winner of the 2006 NL Cy Young Award, made just one start in 2009 due to shoulder pain, then finally had surgery on Aug. 3.

“It was good to get him into the next phase of his rehabilitation,” D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. “He looked comfortable. This is a positive sign as we’re getting close to Spring Training. I thought he looked good.”

The D-backs will treat Webb carefully in spring training, but the right-hander said he didn’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be ready for the start of the season.

If up to full strength (a huge if), Webb would combine with Dan Haren and Edwin Jackson to give Arizona a fine trio of starters. Though with Ian Kennedy and Billy Buckner likely filling out the rotation, a little added depth wouldn’t hurt.

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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)
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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)
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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.