Newly acquired Boston Red Sox player Adrian Gonzalez smiles during a news conference at Fenway Park in Boston

Adrian Gonzalez plays catch for the first time since shoulder surgery

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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.

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)
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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)
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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.