Twins first baseman Justin Morneau suffered a concussion on a slide into second base up in Toronto this past season and never returned to the playing field.
He could barely even work out because of headaches related to the concussion and wound up missing a total of 78 regular season games and then the ALCS.
Things have improved.
According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Morneau began doing cardio exercises this week and should resume baseball-related activities soon.
“The road to recovery is going well,” Morneau wrote in an e-mail to the Star Tribune. “I started working out again this week, and I am feeling pretty good. It has been a long and frustrating road, but feels good to be able to function normally on a day-to-day basis. The first couple of workouts have gone well, and I am sure I will be more than over-anxious to get spring training and the season started once February rolls around.”
Morneau hit .345/.437/.618 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in 81 games this year before going down.
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.