Erik Bedard hasn’t pitched since July of 2009, but the oft-injured left-hander threw his first bullpen session of the year yesterday and reported no problems.
Of course, as catcher Josh Bard told Greg Johns of MLB.com afterward: “He’s definitely not letting it rip, but nobody that is smart is at this point.”
Bedard earned $1.75 million last season without throwing an inning for the Mariners, but this time around his incentive-laden one-year, $1 million contract is non-guaranteed. He has to win a spot on the pitching staff coming out of spring training to get anything and then has to stay healthy to collect up to $6 million in bonuses.
New manager Eric Wedge told Johns that “we’re all rooting for him” and expressed some optimism about Bedard throwing “free and easy” in his first session, which lasted about 10 minutes. There’s plenty of room for him in the Mariners’ rotation, but Bedard hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2007 and will be 32 years old next month.
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.