Nearly 14 months after taking a knee to the head while trying to break up a double play against the Blue Jays, Justin Morneau continues to suffer the aftereffects of a concussion. He’s out of Minnesota’s lineup tonight with what the team is calling “mild concussion symptoms.”
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Joe Christensen reports that Morneau started developing a headache Monday and that the Twins have had him take baseline tests.
With the Twins 56-78 and 17 games back in the AL Central, there certainly won’t be any fooling around with Morneau’s condition. It’s been a pretty miserable year for him anyway: he was limited by neck and wrist injuries early on and he surgery at the end of June to remove a fragment of a herniated disk from his wrist. The new concussion symptoms might be related to an incident Sunday when he drove after a ball and jammed his shoulder.
So, barring a very quick recovery, the Twins might be best off just shutting Morneau down for the year. It’s been a lost campaign for him anyway. He’s hit .227/.285/.333 with four homers and 30 RBI in 264 at-bats.
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.