Josh Johnson has inflamed shoulder, strained back

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Joe Frisaro of MLB.com speculated earlier today that Josh Johnson “may be done for the season” due to injuries to his back and shoulder and the Marlins’ desire to protect their prized right-hander.  That could still be true, but the Fish did get some good news this evening.

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), an MRI on Wednesday afternoon showed inflammation in Johnson’s right shoulder and a slight muscle strain in the middle of the right-hander’s back, but no structural damage.

It’s good news both in the long-term and possibly in the short-term as well.

The Marlins, because Johnson has no serious injuries, could decide to their ace back into the starting rotation for the final four weeks of the regular season.  He has posted an incredible 2.30 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9.11 K/9 in 28 starts this season and is still alive in the chase for the National League Cy Young.  That is, if he continues to pitch and post award-worthy numbers.

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)
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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)
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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.