Jeff Niemann “ready to take the next step” to rehab stint

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Jeff Niemann threw a 45-pitch simulated game yesterday and announced afterward that he’s “ready to take the next step” and begin a minor-league rehab assignment for the back injury that has kept him out since May 6.

Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Niemann will get his wish with rehab stint in which he’ll throw 60, 70, and 90 pitches in three scheduled starts.

Barring a setback, the plan is for Niemann to rejoin the Rays’ rotation five days after throwing 90 pitches in the third rehab start, which puts the timetable for his return sometime in late June.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.

Royals Designate Chris Young for assignment

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The Kansas City Royals have designated Chris Young for assignment. The move clears a spot on the 40-man roster for the addition of Neftali Feliz, who the Royals picked up yesterday.

Young was an excellent swingman for the Royals World Series-winning 2015 team, but he’s been terrible since then, posting a 6.52 ERA since the beginning of 2016. This year he’s got a 7.50 ERA in 14 games, two of which came as a starter. He has a ghastly 2.033 WHIP. He’s not foolin’ anyone out there.