UPDATE: Phillies shortstop Juan Castro broke up the effort with a broken-bat single into left field. Matsuzaka had two outs in the eighth inning at the time. Still, a fine showing from the right-hander, who had a 7.89 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in four starts since being activated from the disabled list on May 1.
7:32pm: Daisuke Matsuzaka is putting on a show this evening in Philadelphia and actually has a no-hitter through seven innings. He has walked three and fanned five.
We’ll keep an eye on the game to see if Dice-K can make history against one of the National League’s best offenses. He’s up to 93 pitches with six outs to go and David Ortiz has been replaced at first base by the more agile Kevin Youkilis. This baby’s getting serious.
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.