Jarrod Saltalamacchia taps the yips away. Big deal: Russell Martin will make you tap out, brother! (er, sorry. I have no idea what I’m talking about):
It wasn’t as if Russell Martin was preparing to grapple with Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell or his favorite Mixed Martial Arts star, fellow Montreal native Georges St. Pierre. Martin just wanted to train like them.
So the new Yankee catcher spent part of the offseason doing MMA-style workouts.
“I wasn’t getting in the ring and fighting guys,” Martin said, smiling. “It was how they condition, how they prepare. Just a lot of power endurance stuff, high-intensity work with short recovery times. It builds your cardio and you get in better shape.”
And of course he’s in better shape. He’s apparently lost 15 pounds, which is what all the cool kids except Joba Chamberlain are doing these days. Probably needs to do everything he can, actually, because Jesus Montero is not content to start the season in Scranton.
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.