Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year

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Ron Washington.jpgWow:

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season, SI.com has learned. Washington, 57, has been subject to increased drug testing since his
failed test, which was administered by Major League Baseball last July,
and he has passed all of his subsequent tests. In deciding to support
Washington and retain him as manager, the Rangers accepted his apology
as heartfelt and also his explanation that this was a one-time
transgression.

I just finished reading a book called The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven by Aaron Skirboll. It won’t be released for several months, but when it comes out you’ll definitely want to read it.  It details the Pittsburgh cocaine trials of 1985 and the crazy, coke-filled years Major League Baseball experienced leading up to them.

Ron Washington played during the years chronicled in that book. Between the time frame of his heyday and that of the book, my first impression of this news it to be skeptical of the “one-time transgression” language of the team’s statement.  How many people try
coke for the first time at age 57?  Especially those who worked in an environment absolutely lousy with cocaine for so many years of their youth?

That said, I like Ron Washington as much as the next guy, and I’m happy to see that he has passed subsequent testing.  I’m also pleased to see the Rangers give him another shot rather than do the easy thing, which would be to cut him loose. By all accounts he’s been a loyal guy and his players are said to like him. People deserve second chances.    

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.