Homefield not the priority, as Yanks push back Hughes, CC

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The Yankees announced Friday that they’d start Dustin Moseley against the Red Sox on Sunday night and push back Phil Hughes until Wednesday. Also, going unannounced, but essentially confirmed by the big left-hander himself, is that CC Sabathia will make just one start next week, that coming Friday against Boston.
The Sabathia decision was a given, and it’s also no surprise that Hughes will make just one more start this season. The Yankees see a bigger advantage in getting their starters some extra rest and setting up their rotation for the postseason than in receiving an extra game at home during the ALDS and potentially the ALCS.
If the Yankees fail to claim the AL East, then they’d be guaranteed to open each postseason series on the road, even if they have a better record than the AL Central and AL West champs. The NL pennant winner is already guaranteed homefield advantage in the World Series by virtue of the All-Star Game victory.
The AL’s top three Cy Young contenders all pitched Thursday, putting them in position to make starts Tuesday and Sunday of next week if necessary. However, it’s not likely that any will do so. The Rays will likely back off David Price as well. Felix Hernandez is expected to start Tuesday and could go again Sunday, but the Mariners will probably choose to protect their ace instead.
Hughes is up to 169 1/3 innings for the season after beating the Rays on Tuesday. The Yankees have tried to be careful with him throughout the second half, and he’ll finish up having made just four starts during the month of September.

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.