San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals

Orlando Hudson leaves game with strained left groin

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Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson removed himself from Wednesday’s series finale against the Cardinals moments ago after appearing to aggravate his once-strained right hamstring.

Hudson managed an infield single on a hot shot to third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but he tweaked something just before landing safely on the first base bag. O-Dog immediately headed for the Padres’ dugout, then threw off his batting helmet as he hobbled down the clubhouse steps.

Hudson spent two weeks on the disabled list earlier this month with a strain of his right hamstring. He was just activated on May 19, in fact, and was making just his 34th start of the season Wednesday night.

Alberto Gonzalez stepped in to play second base in Hudson’s absence and could be asked to begin making regular starts there soon. The Padres do not have much in the way of organizational infield depth.

UPDATE: Scratch all that hamstring talk. According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, Hudson has been diagnosed with a left groin strain. It seems likely that he will land on the 15-day disabled list.

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.