Stephen Strasburg fans eight in second MLB start

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strasburg first road start.jpgNationals phenom Stephen Strasburg just completed his second major league start, a strong 5.1-inning performance on the road against the Indians.

He served up a home run, just as he did in his impressive 14-strikeout debut last week.  He also walked five batters, showing a lack of control that he never once displayed while tearing through the minor leagues.  But Strasburg still flashed impressive velocity and movement, and now boasts 22 strikeouts through his first 12.1 innings of Major League Baseball.  He allowed only two hits.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tracked Strasburg’s fastball throughout the day and found nine pitches of 100 MPH, 31 at 98 MPH or higher and 40 at 97 MPH and above.  The 21-year-old was bringing heat yet again and departed with a 6-1 lead.  He’s in line for his second consecutive victory and will finish the day 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA if the Nats are able to hang on.

Strasburg’s arrival has not only been good for the Nationals, but also the cities he will pitch in over the remaining months of the 2010 season.  Today’s start drew 32,876 fans at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, the best crowd that stadium has seen since the Indians’ home opener.

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.