Tim Wakefield

Red Sox fall to Rays, wild card lead down to two games

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The Red Sox were able to knock David Price out of Sunday’s game, but they dropped another one to the Rays anyway, leaving them just two games up in the wild card standings.

The Rays, who were nine games back on Sept. 3, beat the Red Sox for the sixth time in seven games this month.

Aiming for win No. 201, Tim Wakefield gave up three runs in the second and another in the fourth, putting Boston in a big hole.  Still, there was hope for the Red Sox.  After taking a Mike Aviles liner off his chest in the third, Price struggled in the fourth, giving up two runs, and then left as a precaution.

Unfortunately for Boston, the pitching staff wasn’t able to hold the Rays offense in check afterwards.  Wakefield allowed two more runs in the fifth and Andrew Miller gave up two in the seventh.  The Red Sox came back with three of their own in the seventh, making it 8-5, but that was the end of the scoring for the day.

In the end, the Red Sox lost despite outhitting the Rays 8-7 and collecting the game’s only homer, a three-run shot from Mike Aviles.  Aviles and Darnell McDonald actually drove in all of Boston’s runs, as the big bats came up empty.

The Rays got three hits and three RBI from Matt Joyce, plus two hits and a steal from Desmond Jennings.

Both the Red Sox and Rays have 10 games left.  Seven of Boston’s are against the Orioles, with a three-game series in Yankee Stadium sandwiched in between.  The Rays will play the Yankees seven times, with their weekend series coming against the Blue Jays.

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.