Francisco Liriano and Felix Hernandez had a great pitchers’ duel last night, with the Twins taking a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning in Seattle.
With a runner on first base and one out Jack Cust hit a ground ball to third baseman Danny Valencia, who decided to throw to second base for the force out.
His throw was late–on replay, Miguel Olivo’s was already at the base when Alexi Casilla caught the ball, although there’s some question about whether Casilla’s foot blocked Olivo–but umpire Jerry Meals called him out.
Eric Wedge came storming out of the dugout, went face-to-face (or mustache-to-face) with Meals, and got himself ejected pretty quickly, although he was relatively subdued once tossed.
Instead of having the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base with one out, the Mariners were down to their final out with a runner on first base and Adam Kennedy grounded out to end the game. At this point the Twins will take any help they can get, as the victory snapped their nine-game losing streak.
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.