Things are looking somewhat bleak for the Rangers right now, but Ron Washington doesn’t have any major changes up his sleeve for Game 3 against Jonathan Sanchez on Saturday night.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Washington plans to roll out the same lineup he has used lately against left-handed pitching. This means we can probably expect Mitch Moreland to get the start over Jorge Cantu at first base, Jeff Francoeur to play right field and Bengie Molina to get the start behind the plate.
We’re dealing with a small sample size here, but the Rangers have collectively hit .306/.336/.485 with six homers and an 821 OPS in 134 at-bats against left-handed pitching so far during the postseason. Another lefty, Madison Bumgarner, is slated to start Game 4 on Sunday night. If the Rangers can score some runs against these southpaws like they are capable of doing, we could be talking about a very different series by Monday morning.
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.