Lou Piniella now following Steve Stone's advice

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Lou Piniella going off on Steve Stone last week was obviously a long time in the making, but it was pushed to the surfaced because of comments Stone made recently criticizing Piniella for not playing rookie Tyler Colvin enough.
Piniella blasted Stone for having the gall to criticize him, basically said he has no idea what he’s talking about … and is now doing exactly what Stone suggested. Seriously. Piniella said yesterday that Colvin will begin to get more playing time:

We said when the time was right we were going to make this type of move, and the time’s getting real right. He deserves an opportunity. We brought him along and he waited his turn and he deserves an opportunity.

So, maybe Piniella was just upset at Stone for stealing his thunder?
Colvin started in right field and batted second last night, replacing fellow left-handed hitter Kosuke Fukudome against right-hander Gavin Floyd. Colvin has forced his way into the lineup by hitting .296 with six homers and eight doubles in 98 at-bats as a part-time player, posting a team-leading .936 OPS, and the fact that Fukudome is also in his annual post-April slump makes things a lot easier on Piniella.
As for Stone … well, he didn’t seem to be bothered one bit by Piniella taking shots at him, seemingly taking it as well as he dished it out, and is probably pretty amused by how quickly the Cubs’ manager followed his advice. Or maybe the whole feud was all just a ruse to get the focus away from the team’s 28-35 record.

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.