We don’t get to say this very often, but last night was a pretty good night to be a Nationals fan. No joke.
In addition to the major league club defeating the first-place Phillies, Stephen Strasburg tossed three shutout innings in his second minor league rehab start and Bryce Harper slugged a walk-off home run for Double-A Harrisburg.
Just calling it a walk-off home run would just be underselling it, though. Harper crushed it well beyond the batter’s eye in straightaway center field. No word on the exact distance, but one Senators’ coach estimates it traveled 480 feet.
It’s nice to link to a video of Harper doing something positive on the baseball field, although I can’t help but hold my breath every time someone jumps on home plate during a walkoff celebration. Thanks a lot, Kendrys Morales.
Check out the video of the home run, courtesy of CSNWashington.com.
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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.
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.