Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston reports that the Tigers have begun making a push for Red Sox infielder Mike Lowell.
The Tigers lost starting third baseman Brandon Inge to a fractured left hand on Tuesday and Magglio Ordonez to a fractured ankle on Saturday night. Lowell, despite his fair share of injury concerns, will bring some much-needed pop to the Detroit lineup. The 36-year-old hit .290/.337/.474 with 17 home runs last season and has collected two home runs in limited action this year.
Detroit is trying to keep pace with the White Sox and Twins in the American League Central. As of Sunday morning, Chicago has a 2.5 game lead and the Twins are a half-game up on the Tigers.
For now, Lowell remains on the disabled list. He will need to be activated before a deal can be struck, but the Red Sox were probably close to bringing him back anyway. After all, he went 4-for-4 with two RBI in a rehab game Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket. Sunday may be his last day in the minor leagues.
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.