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Is career-high workload catching up to Jered Weaver?

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Jered Weaver has turned in back-to-back ugly starts, allowing 13 runs in 11 innings while his ERA rose from 2.03 to 2.49, but manager Mike Scioscia told Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times that “his arm feels good” and there are no physical issues to blame.

Weaver is on pace for a career-high 238 innings, but it’s not that far above last season’s total of 224 innings. DiGiovanna notes that Weaver ranks second in the majors in pitches thrown behind only Justin Verlander, but his 3,815-pitch pace is only about three percent above last year’s total of 3,713 pitches.

“He wasn’t as crisp and his fastball command was off, but he has enough gas in his tank to finish the season strong,” Scioscia said. “In talking with him, his arm feels good. Sometimes you’re going to be out of sorts.”

Adding to the scrutiny is that Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million contract extension on August 23. He’s scheduled to start Friday against the Yankees, so if Weaver isn’t at full strength New York’s lineup should make it pretty obvious.

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)
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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)
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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.