Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t look anything like his usual dominant self on Opening Day against the Diamondbacks last Friday, giving up six runs — five earned — over six innings while striking out just one and sitting between 89-91 mph on the radar gun.
It turns out Jimenez aggravated a cuticle of his right thumb, a condition that caused him to miss a start during the early part of the Cactus League schedule.
While his thumb has improved with treatment, Rockies manager Jim Tracy told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post today the right-hander is no sure thing to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Pirates.
“We’re still monitoring the situation,” said Tracy this afternoon. “His finger looks much, much better, there’s no question about it. And yet we don’t want to push it to the point where we take major steps backwards just by trying to play catch.”
The Rockies could either push Jimenez back to Saturday or skip him altogether. Jorge De La Rosa would likely take his turn in the rotation.
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.