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Dusty Baker says struggling Aroldis Chapman won’t be sent to the minors

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Aroldis Chapman failed to record an out last night for the second straight appearance, issuing three walks and hitting a batter before being yanked by manager Dusty Baker.

Chapman had tons of success in April despite frequently displaying diminished (for him, at least) velocity, allowing zero earned runs through his first 12 games.

However, he’s now given up six runs while recording just three outs in his last three appearances, walking or plunking nine of the 14 batters he faced.

Baker downplayed Chapman’s control problems somewhat and also made it clear that demoting him to the minors is not something being considered by the Reds, telling John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Chapman is struggling some to find the plate. We’ve got to find a way to get his mechanics back in the sync. He’s throwing the ball great. It’s a matter of throwing strikes. We’ll figure it out.

Fay reports that Jose Arredondo is close to coming off the disabled list after the former Angels setup man missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery, at which point the Reds’ bullpen hierarchy could change considerably. Chapman may not be headed to Triple-A, but demoting him to mop-up man for a while presumably isn’t out of the question.

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)
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)
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.