Jose Reyes back in Mets' lineup on Saturday

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capt.35783eee24304be6b224b727971d63ca-4cc0d27cb57744b8a6a6aa0410dfae73-0.jpgAs expected, Jose Reyes will make his return to the Mets on Saturday afternoon against the Nationals, leading off against left-hander John Lannan. It will be Reyes’ first game since May 20 of last season. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York just tweeted the lineup a little earlier, but after all the stops and starts over the past year, I’m not going to believe it until I actually see it with my own two eyes.

You’ll have to forgive me for this fanboy moment, but I might be more excited about Reyes’ return than I was for Opening Day. To truly understand why this is, you’ll have to remember what he has represented to Mets fans ever since his debut as a raw and unpolished talent at the age of 19: Hope.

In 2003, Reyes was a much-needed shot in the arm to a fanbase stuck rooting for an aging (and losing) team that included the likes of Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Roberto Alomar, Rey Sanchez, Roger Cedeno, Al Leiter and John Franco. More broadly, while the above names were brought in via trade and free agency, Reyes was ours. A contrast. Homegrown. As a result, we’ve always taken a very specific form of pride when he scampers around the bases. We’ve also empathized with him through numerous health setbacks, from all the early problems with his legs to this most recent episode with his thyroid.

The impact of Reyes’ absence on the lineup over the past year has been patently obvious, but it’s also been a reminder of what he really means to the franchise. That being said, he’s no quick fix. He can’t be the Mets No. 2 starter, or their No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5, for that matter. But for one day, none of that stuff matters. And that’s a pretty powerful thing.
 

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)
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.