Florida Marlins v Washington Nationals

Hanley Ramirez might not return until September

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When it was announced earlier today that Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had been cleared to begin a rehab assignment tonight with Single-A Jupiter, the general consensus was that he’d play two or three games on the farm before returning to the majors early next week. Possibly as soon as Monday.

But that’s not the Marlins’ plan.

According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the Fish plan to be “conservative” with their star shortstop and might not activate him until major league rosters expand on the first of September.

Ramirez has been sidelined since August 2 with a left shoulder sprain. He’s no longer experiencing discomfort, but the Marlins want to be sure that he’s fully healed before allowing him back on a big league diamond.

Hanley is batting .243/.333/.379 with 10 homers and 20 stolen bases through 92 games this season. Emilio Bonifacio, hitting .230/.299/.310 in the month of August, has been filling in at shortstop in Ramirez’s absence.

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.