New York Yankees v Minnesota Twins

Alex Rodriguez receives cortisone shot in left thumb, unlikely to return until Friday

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Derek Jeter returned to the Yankees’ starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Red Sox, but Alex Rodriguez remains sidelined with a Grade 1 sprain of his left thumb.

While an MRI on the thumb came back negative yesterday, he was given a cortisone injection. It’s not uncommon for players to rest for a couple of days following a cortisone shot, so Rodriguez admitted to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that he is unlikely to play until the Yankees return home Friday to face the Blue Jays.

“They told me basically to stay off it, to pretty much do all lower-body stuff, to stay away from a bat for a day or two,” Rodriguez said. “The one thing is, it’s so frustrating to come here. It’s the last time we come here for the regular season. I mean, it hurts like hell just to sit on the sidelines watching.”

Rodriguez originally suffered the injury while attempting to make a backhanded play on a ground ball in his first game back from knee surgery on August 21. He returned to the lineup last Thursday, but aggravated the thumb during the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Orioles.

Rodriguez, 36, is batting .289/.361/.478 with 14 homers, 53 RBI and an .839 OPS over 84 games this season. He hasn’t appeared in less than 124 games in a season since 1995.

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.