Brian Matusz

UPDATE: Brian Matusz to DL with strained intercostal muscle, Zach Britton to make debut Sunday

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UPDATE: According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Brian Matusz will go on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle. Orioles president Andy MacPhail said he’ll be sidelined anywhere from three to six weeks.

Meanwhile, prospect left-hander Zach Britton will be called up to make his major league debut Sunday against the Rays. There was speculation that the Orioles would wait until at least April 21 in an effort to delay his service time for a year, but the injury to Matusz has obviously changed their plans.

The 23-year-old left-hander put up an impressive 1.35 ERA over 20 innings during Grapefruit League play and posted a 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 124/51 K/BB ratio over 153 1/2 innings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk last season. He was named as the organization’s No. 1 pitching prospect by Baseball America over the winter.

5:17 PM: Brian Matusz will not make his scheduled start tomorrow against the Rays because of a back injury and is headed for an MRI exam, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Matsuz was questionable to make the start in the first place after taking a line drive off his biceps during a simulated game Monday, but was cleared to pitch before being scratched with back soreness.

Selected fourth overall in the 2008 draft, Matusz threw 176 innings with a 4.30 ERA and 143/63 K/BB ratio as a rookie and even at just 24 years old the Orioles were counting on him to help stabilize a very young, inexperienced starting rotation.

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.