Evan Longoria has been out since straining his oblique muscle in the second game of the season, but Mark Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that he’s scheduled to begin a brief minor-league rehab assignment Thursday.
Assuming he can avoid a setback while playing at Double-A, Longoria is aiming to come off the disabled list and rejoin the Rays’ lineup next Tuesday.
Tampa Bay has recovered nicely from a 1-8 start, going 10-3 against the Red Sox, Twins, White Sox, and Blue Jays despite Longoria’s fill-ins, Felipe Lopez and Sean Rodriguez, combining to hit just .208 starting in his place.
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.