The Phillie Phanatic is sued. Again.

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I’m not sure what’s more entertaining: the fact that the Phillie Phanatic gets sued all the time or the fact that the plaintiff’s lawyer in this latest case — arising out of the Phanatic’s antics at a minor league game at Reading — seems to be doing a pretty good job of humanizing, er, Phanaticising the defendant:

Even the woman’s attorney, John Speicher, of Wyomissing, said that
people around him have said that “this is like suing Santa Claus.”

“I’m expecting him to come to a deposition, stick his stomach and his
tongue out at me and not say anything,” Speicher said . . .

. . . Speicher agreed that the Phanatic is more “engaging and interactive”
than the mascots typically seen at Reading Phillies games. “Their mascot is Screwball, and it’s like he’s on Valium,” Speicher
said. “They say Screwball has the energy of Perry Como.”

He also sued in Philly rather than in Reading, where the alleged incident occurred. Which while not totally silly — city juries may be more plaintiff-friendly than smaller town juries — is a bit counter-intuitive, because you don’t want to let your defendant have home field advantage.

Sue in Reading and the Phanatic will be on his ATV, going back and forth to court appearance, all the time.

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.