Justin Smoak

Bad hop grounder leaves Justin Smoak with broken nose

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Making his first start in 10 days after dealing with a sore thumb, Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak suffered a broken nose when a Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounder took a bad hop and hit him in the second inning of tonight’s game against the Red Sox.

He was taken to a Seattle hospital for a CT scan.

Smoak hadn’t played since Aug. 2 before returning to the lineup tonight.  In his first at-bat back, he hit a shot to center that would have been a two-run double if not for a nice play from Jacoby Ellsbury.  The injury came before he could get a second at-bat.

If Smoak lands on the DL, the Mariners could have Mike Carp and Adam Kennedy share time at first base.  Wily Mo Pena, who has hit .354 with four homers in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma since signing with the Mariners, would be an obvious candidate to come up and take Carp’s at-bats at DH.

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.