UPDATE: John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Sandoval is out of the starting lineup for the first time this season on Saturday.
1:58 PM: Pablo Sandoval exited Friday’s game against the Astros after he was plunked on the left foot by right-hander Jeff Fulchino in the eighth inning.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that X-rays came back negative, but that Sandoval said the foot was still sore and he was unsure whether he would be able to play on Saturday night.
Kung-Fu Panda batted .368/.433/.575 with three homers, 10 RBI and a 8/10 K/BB ratio in April, but has struggled to a .135/.164/.192 batting line with zero homers, two RBI and a 9/1 K/BB ratio over the first 12 games in May, so perhaps a day off isn’t such a bad idea anyway.
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.
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.