Jhonny Peralta

Kevin Youkilis, Jhonny Peralta named to AL All-Star team

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The replacements for Alex Rodriguez (knee) and Derek Jeter (calf) are in, and they are the expected names.  Kevin Youkilis and Jhonny Peralta will take the open spots at third base and shortstop on the AL squad.

Adrian Beltre and Asdrubal Cabrera will replace Rodriguez and Jeter in the starting lineup.

Youkilis leads all major league third basemen with an .884 OPS this season.  He’s hit .275 with 12 homers and 59 RBI for the Red Sox, who moved one game ahead of A-Rod’s Yankees for first place in the AL East by beating Baltimore tonight.

Peralta has hit .313/.364/.533 for an .897 OPS that leads AL shortstops.  He’s homered 14 times and driven in 50 runs for a Tigers team that has pulled with a half-game of the Indians for first place in the AL Central.

So, the American League got these two right after the foolish choice of Jordan Walden as Mariano Rivera’s replacement and the NL’s decision to pick Andre Ethier over Andrew McCutchen in replacing Shane Victorino.

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.