More bad news on the season-ending injury front.
According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said Thursday that catcher Russell Martin is unlikely to return from the disabled list this season.
The catcher suffered a labral tear in his right hip while crossing home plate on Tuesday night and will require crutches to get around for the next three weeks. Even if he begins rehabbing immediately after that, it’s a longshot that he will be ready by late September or early October.
The Dodgers currently sit seven games back of the Padres in the National League West and would have to leapfrog the Giants as well to reach the postseason. Andre Ethier is coming around at the plate and Vicente Padilla turned in a great performance on Wednesday night, but it may be time to count Los Angeles out of this year’s playoff picture.
For now, A.J. Ellis and Brad Ausmus will fill in behind the plate for the Dodgers. Martin, 27, turned in a .248/.347/.332 batting line, five home runs and 26 RBI over 331 at-bats this season. He should be ready to go by the start of spring training next February.
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.