Good news for Red Sox fans. According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, Adrian Gonzalez tossed a baseball with his brother Edgar Gonzalez on Monday, the first time he has played catch since undergoing right shoulder surgery.
After Gonzalez underwent the procedure in October, he said in a radio interview that he may not be cleared to swing a bat for 4-5 months. The low-end of that timetable would have pushed him back into the first week of spring training, but according to Olney, “the sense is that he might be ahead of schedule.” In fact, barring any setbacks, Gonzalez could begin swinging a bat by sometime in late February.
According to Olney, Gonzalez may head to the Red Sox spring training facility in early February in order to continue his conditioning and shoulder work. This situation bares watching, but for now, it sounds as if he is progressing quite nicely.
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.