As if Jose Bautista hitting 54 homers this season wasn’t an amazing enough feat, now it turns out he did most of that slugging with a hernia.
Bautista underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia today and is expected to be out of commission for 4-6 weeks, leaving him plenty of time to get healthy for spring training.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that Bautista “tolerated discomfort due to the injury since May.” Seriously.
Taking a look at his numbers after, say, June 1, he smacked 38 homers and 23 doubles in 386 at-bats, which is good for a .624 slugging percentage that ranked third in all of baseball during that time behind only Josh Hamilton at .712 and Carlos Gonzalez at .641.
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.