Phil Hughes

Cashman says Phil Hughes will probably need “a few more” starts in the minors

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Phil Hughes made his second minor league rehab start last night with Double-A Trenton. And the results were decidedly mixed.

Hughes allowed one run on two hits over 3 1/3 innings while walking two and striking out three. He threw 42 out of 72 pitches for strikes.

And while Hughes topped out at 95 mph on the radar gun in Sunday’s start with Class A Staten Island, he reached 93 mph on his fastball last night and mostly sat in the 89-91 mph range. Of course, that’s better than the 89.3 mph he averaged on his fastball before going on the disabled list, but the Yankees are obviously watching his velocity closely.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was in attendance for last night’s start and told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that Hughes still has some work to do.

“He was OK,” said Cashman, who had proclaimed velocity and continuing to build arm strength as the goals of the evening. “He needs to command his fastball better and get his consistency going. He probably needs a few more starts.”

Before the game, Cashman told Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com that Hughes’ next start will probably come with Double-A Trenton, with a pitch count around 90. Things could change if Brian Gordon struggles in the rotation, but it’s increasingly likely that Hughes will need two or three more starts before returning from the 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.