The Rays finally got to the Yankees’ eighth and ninth pitchers of the night.
After being held to two hits over seven scoreless innings, the Rays came back with six runs off Boone Logan and Luis Ayala in the bottom of the eighth tonight. Evan Longoria’s three-run homer was the big blast.
The Rays also scored twice without hits: Ayala walked Sam Fuld with the bases loaded and then plunked Sean Rodriguez for another run.
For some reason, Joe Girardi left Ayala in to finish the inning. Except for starter Dellin Betances, who faced nine batters, none of the Yankees’ eight pitchers had faced more than five batters. That is until the terribly ineffective Ayala got to face seven.
Maybe Girardi hates the Red Sox, too.
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.