Early reports are flowing in on Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg and his removal from Saturday night’s game due to a forearm flexor tendon issue.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says that Strasburg reported “significant improvement” in his right arm on Sunday morning and plans to work out with the team before Sunday afternoon’s series finale with the Phillies.
Of course, that doesn’t mean much. Strasburg is a serious competitor — he pleaded with manager Jim Riggleman to stay in last night — and not even he knows whether his right arm truly is injured. The MRI will tell us that, and it’s scheduled for this afternoon.
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus is hearing that Strasburg is going to be shut down for the season and will probably pay a visit soon to Dr. James Andrews. That’s far more believable given the right-hander’s high innings total and his value to that organization.
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.