Reds activate Jim Edmonds and Mike Leake from the disabled list. Sort of.

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According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the Reds activated both Jim Edmonds and Mike Leake from the disabled list today. Just don’t look for them to play prominent roles down the stretch.

Earlier this week, we thought that Edmonds’ career could be over after he revealed that he has a torn oblique muscle. That hasn’t changed, really. In fact, the news that he was being activated surprised both Edmonds and Reds manager Dusty Baker.

“I really wasn’t expecting to come off today,” Edmonds said. “[Walt
Jocketty] told me and that’s a good thing. Nobody wants to be on the DL
anyways. I’m here if it’s needed.”

“I was surprised myself,” Baker said. “Walt informed me. I saw him
moving around pretty good in the outfield. I haven’t seen him hit. So
far he’s been hitting off the tee.”

As for Leake, he was shut down two weeks ago due to right shoulder fatigue. That hasn’t changed, either, but Baker believes he can still help in other areas. 

“Leake will fit in to pinch-hit, pinch-run, pinch-bunt. Pinch
everything,” Baker said. “He told me two months ago if I needed an
emergency outfielder, he could do that too. That’s a real emergency.
He’s not ready to pitch. He wasn’t supposed to pick up a ball for two
weeks.”

I’m skeptical that Edmonds will contribute in any significant way, but the addition of Leake shouldn’t be overlooked. The 22-year-old rookie is batting .340 (16-for-47) with six sacrifices this season. I wish I could remember who brought it up first, but Leake actually has a higher VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) as a hitter than he does as a pitcher this season.

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.