Congress is butting into baseball again. This time: tobacco

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tobacco.jpgCan someone tell me why Congress has nothing better to do than this?

MLBPA chief labor counsel David Prouty is among
the witnesses who submitted written testimony ahead of Wednesday’s
hearing before a House subcommittee about the use of smokeless tobacco
by baseball players. Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, says he wants to know why smokeless tobacco is banned in the minors but allowed in the majors.

Smoking, chewing and dipping is beyond stupid, no one should do it and if I was running baseball I’d consider every possible means at my disposal to keep players from doing it. But contrary to the way everyone acts in this country, it’s still legal, ballplayers are still adults and as long as they’re not harming anyone else with it Congress should keep the heck out of the matter.

And before anyone offers the most obvious retort, allow me to note that my wife and I are raising our kids ourselves. We’re not depending on ballplayers to do it, and we certainly don’t need Congress to do it either.  If my boy sees a ballplayer with a chaw in and asks me what he’s doing I’m going to be honest and say “He’s being stupid, son. Many adults, even the athletes, can be very, very stupid at times.”

Suggestion to Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone: Go fix the financial sector or the elections laws or the environment and let the shortstop dip his Copenhagen and get jaw cancer and everything in peace.

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.